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The Labour Relations Agency (Flexible Working) Arbitration Scheme Order (Northern Ireland) 2006

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XV OUTLINE OF PROCEDURE AT THE HEARING

Arbitrator’s overall discretion

80.  Subject to the arbitrator’s general duty (section IX above), and subject to the provisions set out below, the conduct of the hearing and all procedural and evidential matters (including applications for adjournments) shall be for the arbitrator to decide.

Administration

81.  The LRA shall provide administrative services to the arbitrator during the course of the hearing. However, no formal minute of the proceedings will be kept.

Witnesses

82.  No party or witness shall be cross-examined by a party or representative, or examined on oath or affirmation.

Examination by the arbitrator

83.  The arbitrator shall have the right to address questions directly to either party or to anybody else attending the hearing, and to take the initiative in ascertaining the facts and (where applicable) the law.

Representatives

84.  The parties may be accompanied by any person chosen by them to help them to present their case at the hearing, although no special status will be accorded to legally qualified persons. Each party is liable for any fees or expenses incurred by any person attending on their behalf.

Strict rules of evidence

85.  The arbitrator will not apply strict rules of evidence (or any other rules) as to the admissibility, relevance or weight of any material (oral, written or other) sought to be tendered on any matters of fact or opinion.

Non-attendance at the hearing

86.  If, without showing sufficient cause, a party fails to attend or be represented at a hearing, the arbitrator may:

(i)continue the hearing in that party’s absence or in the absence of that party’s representative, and in such a case shall take into account any written submissions and documents that have already been submitted by that party; or

(ii)adjourn the hearing.

87.  In the case of the non-attendance of the employee, if the arbitrator decides to adjourn the hearing, he/she may request, in writing, through the LRA that the employee provides an explanation for the non-attendance. If the arbitrator decides that the employee has not demonstrated sufficient cause for the non-attendance, he/she may rule in an award that the claim be treated as dismissed.

Post-hearing written materials

88.  No further submissions or evidence will be accepted after the end of the substantive hearing without the arbitrator’s permission, which will only be granted in exceptional circumstances. Where permission is granted, any material is to be sent to the LRA, to be forwarded to the arbitrator and all other parties.

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