Observe a tribunal

Once you have passed the test, you should observe a tribunal to see how a hearing works in practice.

Observing an employment tribunal

If you’re going to be taking on Employment cases, you will need to observe a tribunal first.

There are two ways of doing this: you can either attend an in-person hearing or you can attend a remote hearing via cloud video platform (CVP).

For remote hearings, the employment tribunal publishes upcoming hearings on www.courtserve.net.  You will need to register for a (free) account to access the lists.  The lists tell you a case’s “jurisdiction”, i.e., cause of action (see this link for an explanation of what the acronyms stand for: Jurisdiction Codes).  Identify a suitable case to observe – you want to watch something that is like an early FRU case, e.g., a one or two day unfair dismissal case, a breach of contract claim, or a short wages claim.  Once you have chosen the hearing you would like to attend, email the tribunal to request to observe the hearing.  The email address for the relevant tribunal is provided at the top of the downloaded list.  If asked, explain that you are a FRU volunteer who wants to observe as part of your training.  Emails containing a link to join will be sent the morning of when the hearing is due to start.

Bear in mind that the tribunal staff and judges are under a lot of pressure at the moment. There may be technical problems and, even if not, you may find that the case you want to observe has settled or has to be postponed.  Always be polite and professional, especially if things go wrong.

For in-person hearings, the best way to attend is by simply turning up.  Choose your nearest tribunal (London Central, London East, London South or Watford).  Hearings start at 10am or 2pm, so we recommend that you arrive at either 9am or 1pm.  When you arrive, head to reception and ask to see a list of the hearings taking place that day.  Explain that you would like to attend as an observer.  Once you have chosen a hearing to attend, you will be told the floor and room number.

Please read the guide below before booking your tribunal visit and complete the report form:

Observing a social security tribunal

At the moment it is still difficult to observe a hearing in person and remote hearings are not currently open to the public.

Instead we would like you to watch the attached link.

The YouTube videos below provide a useful insight into the appeals process from an appellant's perspective. We recommend that you adjust the speed settings when watching: the narration is a little slow!

Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2PXPryCvjpc

Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16zduVcxsLM

We have also attached a link to an educational video about the SEND Tribunal, which gives a good idea about what an in-person Social Security Tribunal would look like and what the Tribunal is seeking to replicate via remote hearing: