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Restrictions

Employment Matters e-update – May 2022

Overview

Under the 1993 rules, the restrictions on reporting of ‘Industrial Tribunal’ cases, as they were then known, were limited to cases concerning sexual misconduct. This was extended in 1996 to cover disability discrimination cases where ‘evidence of a personal nature’ was likely to be heard. These restrictions were known as ‘restricted reporting orders’.

National security rules aside, the current rules allow an ET to make an order preventing or restricting the public disclosure of any aspect of the proceedings where this is in interests of justice, will protect Convention rights, in circumstances where confidentiality would be breached or where substantial injury to the undertaking would be caused by the disclosure of certain information.

Examples of the types of order that may be granted under the current rules are orders:

  • that a hearing be conducted in private;
  • that the identities of specified parties, witnesses or other persons referred to in the proceedings should not be disclosed to the public by the use of anonymisation or otherwise commonly referred to as ‘privacy orders’ or ‘anonymity orders’;
  • for measures preventing witnesses at a public hearing being identifiable by members of the public (for example that evidence is given behind a screen); or
  • A ‘restricted reporting order’ – applicable where cases involve allegations of sexual misconduct or in disability discrimination cases as described above.

The list of cases published on Courtserve does not specify whether or not there are any restrictions in place and reminds the press that this should be checked before any material is submitted for publication.

These orders will be granted in limited circumstances and can be difficult to secure. The most difficult type of order to secure would be an order that the case be conducted in private as this is most at odds with the principle of open justice.

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