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Thursday, 8 May 2014
Allegation of apparent bias
Thanks to David Leslie of Lyons Davidson for preparing this case summary
Is there apparent bias where the Employment Judge's daughter is a partner in the firm representing a claimant?
No, held the Employment Appeal Tribunal in South Lanarkshire Council v Burns.
The EAT considered relevant authorities and held that in the above
situation, although it might be best practice for the Employment Judge
to inform parties of a family connection, there was no requirement for
them to recuse themselves. Recusal would only be required if there was
"something more, such as for example involvement by offspring in the
case, before the informed and impartial bystander would be concerned
about a real risk of bias".
The EAT held that the Employment Judge's questioning of a Respondent
witness did not amount to improper conduct of the hearing. The appeals
against the Tribunal's findings in relation to unfair dismissal also
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Daniel Barnett is a barrister at Outer Temple Chambers, with over 15 years' experience defending companies facing employment tribunal claims and associated commercial disputes. He is listed as a leading employment barrister in the ‘Legal 500′, and described in the Times Law Supplement as having “carved out a strong reputation”.
Daniel regularly advises and represents large and small businesses in discrimination claims, TUPE problems, team moves, removal of confidential business information, and unfair dismissal disputes. He has been appointed as employment law advisor to Acas since 2004, and is the author or co-author of seven legal textbooks.