A tribunal is an institution which has the power or authority to judge, adjudicate and then providing a verdict, depending on a claim or a dispute. Tribunals are generally government bodies which do not carry the same jurisdictions as the courts. The UK system of tribunals is a unified system with delegated judicial authority for the purpose of regulatory supervision and appeals. This a national administrative justice structure for tribunals within the United Kingdom.
The Courts, Enforcement Act and Courts created a two tier system. A First tier Tribunal and an Upper Tribunal, both split into Chambers. Each consists of similar jurisdictions or bring together resembling types of experts to hear the appeals. Generally the upper tier reviews and decides appeals proceeding from the First tier of tribunals.
There is a wide variety of different tribunals, which cover a vast amount of areas influencing our everyday lives. They are held in public, except in a case that would involve very personal evidence or national security.
The tribunal attended was arranged like a panel, incorporating a legally qualified chairman/woman. The layout of the tribunal was as follows:
A tribunal was attended on Monday 10th March in Holborn, hearings start between 10am and 10:30am, allowing chairwoman reasonable time (up to half an hour generally) to read up on evidence and the reading lists provided by both the claimant and respondent.
Upon arrival, you must formally sign in with forename and surname in order to gain a visitors pass. Then you choose the type of tribunal you would like to attend, for example a one day hearing on unfair dismissal. Once at the room of the hearing, you must wait for the Clarke to allow you to enter, waiting for claimant and respondent parties to be seated first.
No oaths were administered, as the proceeding was somewhat informal. The parties were expected to assist in providing copies of their relevant documents, however this was not executed efficiently at all.
The parties had agreed on the relevant facts and readings on the Wednesday before the hearing. This means it may not have been necessary for the chairwoman to gain any oral evidence.
After a cross-examination and review of evidence from both parties, the chairwoman took a half an hour break in order to analyse the information provided to her. After all proceedings, a verdict was made as this was a one day hearing.
The purpose of the tribunal is to legally settle civil disputes either between two individuals or two different parties. In the case of unfair dismissals tribunal hearings, they fairly consider both the employer and ex-employee. Ultimately the unfair dismissal tribunal hearing decides whether or not a dismissal is actually and unfair, providing a verdict in the end. This verdict would be either that there are no grounds for the claimant or that a compensation fee would be in order from the respondent to the claimant.