The appellant or claimant will normally have 20 working days to submit all written evidence which he or she wishes to rely on and may submit a written statement of arguments (known as the case statement). Witness statements can also be produced. The Education Authority will have the final 10 working days of the case statement period to submit all the documentation it wishes to rely on in its response to the reference or claim.
You should carefully consider any information you wish to provide in order that the tribunal can focus on relevant material, if you have any relevant up-to-date information or written reports you can send them with your case statement. If you think your original reference or claim gives us enough information and you have no further comments to make, you do not need to send a case statement. However there is a requirement for the Education Authority to respond. The Authority’s response must say whether it opposes the reference, it must state why and provide evidence to support this.
Once the case statement period has ended we will send all the papers which will be considered by the tribunal, we call this the ‘bundle’, to you or your representative. This contains all the information provided by the parties, as well as the original reference and any preliminary decisions or directions made by the convener. These bundles are also sent to the Education Authority and to the tribunal to help everyone prepare prior to the hearing.
Case Conference Call
A case conference call with the convener and both parties will normally be fixed for shortly after the end of the case statement period to discuss how the hearing will proceed, confirm what witnesses are to be called and to agree a running order. It is also an opportunity for parties to clarify any preliminary issues prior to the hearing. Parties should consider if they intend to call witnesses; parties or their representatives are expected to ensure that they have checked the availability of all witnesses, in advance of the conference call, and are able to present possible hearing dates to the convener during the conference call. Unless there is a good reason not to do so, the convener will normally fix the hearing date during the call. Once fixed, the hearing date will only be changed in exceptional circumstances.
The President has issued GUIDANCE TO TRIBUNAL MEMBERS No 02/2016 to clarify the purpose of the pre-hearing case conference call and the procedures to be employed by the convener.