Other than the judgment, what other information can be made available?
Employment Matters e-update – May 2022
In the course of a tribunal hearing, members of the public (including the press) are entitled to have access to the bundles of documents referred to and sight of any witness statements.
Documents relevant to the claim will not generally be available following the hearing. In some cases however, an application can be made by a party to the hearing, or some other interested party, to obtain copies of documents referred to.
Last month, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) ordered an employer to provide copies of witness statements and other tribunal documents to The Guardian following the conclusion of the hearing.
In this case (Guardian News & Media Ltd v Dmitri Rozanov and others) Rozanov was employed by EFG Private Bank Ltd (“EFG”) and brought claims of whistleblowing detriment following his dismissal. Prior to the hearing the parties agreed that certain client names would be redacted and an anonymity order was made in respect of four individuals. Rozanov was unsuccessful in his claim and a judgment was published.
Months later, a journalist from The Guardian made a request for copies of various documents referred to in the judgment. The journalist explained that they were required for various journalistic reasons and particularly because the decision raised matters of legitimate public interest. EFG opposed the application.
The ET ordered that copies of the claim form and response form should be provided by the tribunal, but did not insist on EFG providing the other documentation requested.
In reaching this decision, the ET weighed up the public interest in the matter, against the inconvenience to EFG in collating the documents. It found the principle of open justice was only engaged to a limited extent and that it would be too onerous for EFG to locate these given the length of time that had passed. In reaching this view, the ET commented that it may have been different had the request been made during the hearing.
The Guardian appealed to the EAT which disagreed with the ET’s view. The EAT found that the inconvenience suffered by EFG if required to provide the documents, would be minor. To give more weight to a minor administrative inconvenience than to the principle of open justice was perverse and EFG was ordered to provide the documents sought.