How to Chair an Appeal Hearing/Meeting
For all Procedures
The below checklist is for guidance purposes only, as it is recognised that the Chair will need to determine how best to manage any hearing given the individual circumstances of the case.
Please ensure that all discussions during this process are fair, appropriate and above reproach.
- Welcome attendees.
- Request that all attendees turn off any electronic devises to avoid unnecessary interruptions during the meeting and advise that the University expressly prohibits the recording of meetings.
- Introduce those present and their roles, this may include: panel members, HR panel support/note-taker, member[s] of the original panel etc.
- Ask the employee to introduce themselves and any companion they may have with them. Check whether the participants are happy with use of first names.
- Confirm with the employee that they have received the letter notifying them of the appeal hearing/meeting and any associated documentation.
- Advise that any questions, comfort breaks and adjournments requests should be directed at the Chair.
- Identify the location of the rooms available to both the employee and member(s) of the original panel, to be used should any adjournments be required.
- Confirm that the appeal hearing/meeting is a result of the decision of a (disciplinary/capability/sickness capability/ grievance) panel (providing the date of original hearing/meeting and its outcome), and that the appeal will be heard in line with the relevant procedure.
- If the appeal hearing/meeting has been rescheduled, confirm with the employee that they acknowledge why this was the case.
- Reaffirm that the appeal process is not an opportunity for a re-hearing of the original submission but to: consider the grounds of their appeal e.g. this could be to determine if previous decision was fair, consider any new facts and judge reasonableness of procedure to date etc. (If exceptionally it is a rehearing advice should be sought from Human Resources before commencing the hearing/meeting).
- Advise that the decision of the appeal panel will be made after the hearing, either following an adjournment, or after closing the hearing, should it require more time to consider the case. The outcome will be confirmed in writing usually within 7 calendar days of the hearing.
- Advise of the procedure or if appropriate invite a HR representative (if applicable) to outline the procedure.
- Representation of Employee – If accompanied confirm the role of the companion, i.e. that they will be able to address the hearing in order to: put the employee’s case forward; sum up the case; respond on the employee’s behalf to any view expressed at the hearing; and confer with the employee. However, the representative will not usually answer questions on behalf of the employee, but may do so with the agreement of the panel.
- If not accompanied note that the employee has been advised of their right to be accompanied but has chosen to attend unaccompanied.
- Confirm the documentation provided, identifying, if appropriate, any other documentation the panel has at their disposal for reference purposes, or any additional information supplied by the employee.
- Advise that it is the employee’s responsibility to specifically draw the panel’s attention to all relevant documentary evidence that should be considered in relation to their grounds for appeal.
- Explain that anything that does not relate to the grounds for appeal or which isn’t directly referenced by the employee, will not be taken into consideration for the purpose of this procedure.
Taking of Notes:
- Advise that the note-taker will take summary notes to support the panel’s consideration. Should the employee want a summary of these notes these can be provided on request. Advise that both the employee and their representative would be welcome to make their own notes.
- Respond to any procedural concerns/queries that may arise.
- Employee will be invited to present their case, during which it would be helpful if they directed the panel to the issues that they would like the Appeal Panel to consider.
- Where previously agreed with the Chair, witnesses may be called (unlikely to be relevant in Sickness cases).
- The Appeal Panel will ask questions/seek clarification as necessary.
- The original hearing/meeting panel member(s) responding to the appeal will be given an opportunity to respond to each of the points raised by the employee and make representation to the panel.
- The employee to be given an opportunity to make a closing statement.
- The original hearing/meeting panel members to be given same opportunity.
- The Panel will adjourn for the Appeal Panel to consider the decision.
- Hear case based on the above running order.
- If the panel is unable to make a decision as further information is required, inform the employee as to when they can expect written notification of the decision (or if further action was deemed necessary what this would entail)
- Close the hearing, ensuring that everyone understands what is going to happen.
- Panel considers the case and makes a decision if not done during an adjournment (Grounds for appeal: upheld, rejected, or require a full or partial rehearing)
- The outcome of the appeal hearing should be confirmed to the employee in writing, usually within 7 days of the hearing (Template Letter).
- Record summary of the discussions, (including any agreed actions and timescales for improvement etc).
- Ensure that the records are factual and constructive.
- Store records securely, as these may be subsequently required within later procedural stages and shared with all relevant parties, including the employee.