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Discrimination: Striking Out after Claimant's evidence

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[Thanks to Ed McFarlane of Deminos HR for preparing this case summary]

Should an employment tribunal strike out a discrimination case after hearing only the Claimant's evidence? 

No, says the EAT in Timbo v Greenwich Council for Racial Equality.

The employment tribunal had struck out the Claimant's case on the Respondent's application at the close of the Claimant's evidence. The EAT overturned this decision, remitting the case for rehearing at a fresh tribunal.

The EAT reviewed a number of authorities on striking out and dismissal, and, giving a clear steer against striking out any cases part-way through a hearing, held that cases should be heard in their entirety where there is a crucial core of disputed fact, which cannot be determined except by hearing and evaluating evidence. Even in cases where a Claimant's credibility may be "severely dented" at "half time", the correct and appropriate course for tribunals is to hear all the evidence and determine cases on their merits to see if there is any underlying truth in allegations of discrimination.

The EAT also said that the type of case that would be susceptible to an application to strike out during the hearing would be "so readily identifiable" that it would only require brief submissions from the party making an application.