Adjournments – Tribunals and Criminal Proceedings

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Once in a while, much like British hockey players winning an Olympic medal, we are asked how to manage internal disciplinary matters with external court proceedings ongoing. Sometimes the fact external court proceedings are ongoing may have no bearing on internal procedure. On other occasions what is happening externally may have a direct impact on internal proceedings.

This issue was raised in Firouzian v Metroline Travel Limited when the question was whether a pre-hearing review (PHR) should be postponed where the Claimant suffers from depression, and a criminal trial is pending. The EAT held there was no need to postpone a PHR where there was no overlap of issues with the criminal trial and the PHR can proceed with just the claimant’s representative present.

Mr Firouzian was accused of causing death by dangerous driving whilst working as a bus driver. A PHR on the question of disability was listed for a fortnight before the trial.

The EAT noted, however, that if there had been a risk to the Claimant’s right to silence or of self-incrimination, it would have been appropriate to postpone the PHR. Further, if he had been expected to give extensive evidence at the PHR, his mental illness might have been grounds to grant the postponement.

Ultimately whether to postpone a PHR (or hearing) is at the discretion of the Judge.

For more help or advice on adjournments please contact Tim Davies on 0191 211 7927 or email [email protected].