Law Society cautions DTI on tribunals

THE Government should fully research whether there is a need to restrict media reporting of industrial tribunals involving the disabled before actually going ahead with any proposals, warns the Law Society.

The society has responded to a proposed amendment by the Department of Trade and Industry to procedural rules of industrial tribunals.

The proposed changes anticipate a new discrimination law next spring and could affect a huge range of discrimination cases, including an expected rise in HIV plaintiffs.

The society's response states that the solicitors from the employment and disability committees did not wish to see an extension of restrictions at all. Their views were based on “the general principle that justice should be seen to be done and a corresponding presumption against restrictions on reporting, in the absence of evidence of a need for them”.

Another concern was “that insufficient evidence of any need for change is available so far”.

Janet Gaymer of the society's employment law committee and a Simmons & Simmons partner, said views among committee members reflected “all shades of opinion”. “My personal view is that while I can see the concerns, I think that because this relates to such new legislation, we have to take things a stage at a time. I don't think the time is right now.”