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Allegation of apparent bias

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Thanks to David Leslie of Lyons Davidson for preparing this case summary

Is there apparent bias where the Employment Judge's daughter is a partner in the firm representing a claimant?

No, held the Employment Appeal Tribunal in South Lanarkshire Council v Burns. The EAT considered relevant authorities and held that in the above situation, although it might be best practice for the Employment Judge to inform parties of a family connection, there was no requirement for them to recuse themselves. Recusal would only be required if there was "something more, such as for example involvement by offspring in the case, before the informed and impartial bystander would be concerned about a real risk of bias".

The EAT held that the Employment Judge's questioning of a Respondent witness did not amount to improper conduct of the hearing. The appeals against the Tribunal's findings in relation to unfair dismissal also failed.