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.

At the moment, the best way of doing this is to attend a remote hearing. ET listings are available via https://www.courtserve.net. You will need to register for a (free) account to access the lists. Identify a suitable case to observe (you want to watch something that is like an early FRU case – a one or two day unfair dismissal case, a breach of contract claim or a short wages claim is ideal) and follow the instructions to request to observe. These are slightly different from venue to venue, but will basically involve emailing the tribunal in advance for inclusion in the remote hearing. If asked, explain that you are a FRU volunteer who wants to observe as part of your training.

Bear in mind that the tribunal staff and judges are under a lot of pressure at the moment. Remote hearings, particularly on the current scale, are still new. 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. 

Please don’t try to observe a tribunal case in person at the moment. Some cases are going ahead on a socially distanced basis. But it is much easier for the tribunal to accommodate observers remotely and it is unfair for us to put HMCTS staff, judges, lawyers and parties under additional pressure to accommodate a significant number of volunteers at this time

Observing a social security tribunal

At the moment it is not practical to observe social security tribunals, which are being conducted by telephone.

Details of the current alternative will be explained on the training.