Employment and disputes update: No return to the courtroom for now

Posted: March 19, 2021

It has been a year since the UK court systems moved to remote hearings following the coronavirus pandemic in the UK.  Whilst remote hearings have been a success in reducing further delays to cases, there have been issues relating to connectivity, sharing documentation and the disparity in people’s access to technology.

The Lord Chief Justice announced in his statement on 17 March 2021, that the criminal and civil courts, in line with the government’s roadmap for the easing of lockdown, will begin to return to hearing ‘in-person’ cases. 

He stated that due to the easing of restrictions and increased vaccination “it will be possible and desirable to increase attendance in person where it is safe and in the interests of justice.”1

However, this change does not currently apply to employment tribunal hearings, which will continue to operate remotely via HM Courts & Tribunals Service’s Cloud Video Platform (CVP), subject to the individual judge’s discretion. Practitioners should continue to follow the Employment Tribunal Roadmap2, which does envisage a return to ‘in-person’ hearings when it is safe to do so.

1 Lord Chief Justice’s statement

2 Employment Tribunal Roadmap

Louise Jordan, Trainee Solicitor, & Victoria Willson, Partner

Simkins LLP