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Disciplinary hearing representation question

A friend of mine who's a counsellor has a client who is attending a hearing on 10th November for a gross misconduct case. I don't know the ins and outs, but this client isn't a union member and doesn't have anyone they trust to accompany them to the hearing and is looking for someone with an HR background who might play this role. They are willing to pay.

I've never heard of this kind of thing before (ie independent representation that's unknown to the employee), but I thought I'd post the question here on the off chance that you, or someone you know, might be able to help.


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By tiggah2
2nd Nov 2011 10:42

I'm making a sweeping assumption based on the buzzwords councellor and union member that this is a public sector organisation. The employee should have been provided with a copy of or links to the policy being applied which would have information about representation, as I'm doubtful he'll be able to just bring anyone in from outside the orgainsation. If he is not in a union there may be employee respresentatives within the organisation which may be able to support him, but I'd advise that the first port of call would be to review the disciplinary policy and or contact the HR department or whever the letter inviting him to the meeting was addressed from 

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5th Nov 2011 17:48

You don't mention whether the Hearing is internal to the organisation or an external Employment Tribunal. Basically, the law in the UK permits the (ex)employee to have anyone present of their choice to represent them at an Employment Tribunal.  It is common these days that the employee will seek someone who has knowledge of employment law and the procedings of an Employment Tribunal to assist in presenting their side of the case.  Most often the representative will not have been previously known to the employee.

If the Hearing is internal to the organisation then the procedings are at the direction of the policies and procedures for disciplinary matters within the organisation.  Workers have a statutory right to be accompanied by a person of their choice if the internal Hearing might result in disciplinary action or a warning of some sort (see ACAS Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures dated April 2009) .  The accompanying person should be a fellow worker or a trade union official (regardless of whether the employee is a member or not).  The employee would need to request permission for the accompanying person to attend.  The accompanying person must not be anyone connected with the events resulting in the gross misconduct charge. Also, the accompanying person must not be anyone who might prejudice the case so the organisation may be within their rights not to permit the employee to be accompanied by a solicitor or unknown legal representative from outside the organisation, since at this point the issue is purely an internal matter.  The accompanying person can address the hearing and represent the case of the employee.  The organisation needs to be very sure that the alleged misconduct is (a) clearly within the definition of gross misconduct and (b) if not, that the full disciplinary process is being followed and properly recorded. Hope this helps.......


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7th Nov 2011 16:29


It is rare for an organisation's policies to allow anyone but a trade union official or a colleague to accompany an individual at a disciplinary hearing - but there are a few who allow it. It would be worth the person double-checking this before they go too far down the line. Also in some exceptional cases employees can have legal representation at such a hearing, if being dismissed would remove their livelihood from them. For example a teacher being dismissed for gross misconduct could find they were struck off the teaching register and so they may have a right to legal representation - but these cases are few and far between.

If the person concerned would like to have a quick chat about the situation they are free to give me a call - details on the website at



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16th Nov 2011 11:08

You friend should not accept payment as it will almost certainly bring her into contravention of the MOJ rules on paid advice for non solicitors

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