Witnesses, including the complainant and respondent, will make a written statement to the tribunal. These statements are evidence, and so it is crucial that they be clear, accurate and relevant. Witnesses will be asked to approve the statement under oath before being questioned about their evidence.
These statements are given to the other party in advance of the tribunal so that each side has the chance to prepare questions and responses. The tribunal will set a date for both parties to share their statements – it should be done at the same time so that the other side isn’t able to change theirs after they’ve seen yours. Once statements have been exchanged you will not be able to add to or change your evidence without a very good reason, so it is important to get the statement right.
You should only ask colleagues to be witnesses if they saw something relevant to the dispute. Tribunals are not interested in character witnesses. Witnesses will need to come to the tribunal hearing to answer questions about their evidence. Just providing a written statement is usually not enough.
Witnesses may be reluctant to get involved in a workplace dispute in case it affects their employment. You can ask the tribunal to make an order that the witness must attend. You will need to write to the tribunal explaining why you think this evidence is important, and the reason the witness does not want to attend. If the witness is ordered to attend the tribunal, you may have to pay their expenses.