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Admissibility: Covert Recordings

Thanks to Peter Taheri of 5 Essex Court for preparing this case summary
If an employee hides a tape recorder and captures comments made during his employer's private deliberations during a grievance and disciplinary hearing, is that evidence admissible in an employment tribunal?

Normally yes, especially if it does not form part of the employer's deliberations on the matters in question, held the EAT in Punjab National Bank v Gosain.

The employer was alleged to have made wholly inappropriate comments about the employee when she was out the room; these had (allegedly) been captured on a covert recording.  The EAT stated the correct test is to undertake a balancing exercise, setting the general rule of admissibility of relevant evidence against the public policy interest in preserving the confidentiality of private deliberations in the internal grievance/disciplinary context. 

The employment judge had correctly distinguished Amwell View School Governors v Dogherty, as the private material recorded in this case fell well outside the area of legitimate consideration of matters within the grievance and disciplinary panels' remit.

CIPD: Law on Tour - Spring 2014

Practical employment law workshops around the UK in April and May 2014

CIPD Law on Tour is a series of highly informative and practical one-day employment law workshops that visit locations around the UK twice a year.

Featuring all the latest employment law hits including flexible working proposals, TUPE, discrimination, social media, and employment status, this spring’s tour promises to be practical and entertaining, and you’ll walk away with a good understanding of what’s relevant and important in employment law right now.

Delivered by some of the UK's leading employment law experts, Law on Tour is an essential, enjoyable and productive learning experience and delegates come back time and time again.

Find out more and book your place.

Click here to access a searchable archive of these bulletins
Case summaries are written by a panel of about 40 specialist employment lawyers. Click here to see who they are.
Daniel Barnett is a barrister with 20 years’ experience litigating and advising in employment, HR and associated litigation. He is primarily a litigator, described in legal directories as “tenacious”, “inexhaustible” and “an excellent advocate” (see testimonials). He has been instructed by a Royal Family, international airlines, various FTSE-250 companies, local authorities, NHS Trusts, as well as a myriad of SMEs. Employee clients range from senior executives of quoted companies through to David & Victoria Beckham’s nanny. His specific areas of interest are post-termination restrictive covenants, age discrimination and retirement issues, industrial law (strikes), employment agencies and permanent health insurance disputes. He practises from Outer Temple Chambers, a highly regarded set of Chambers in London.
Outer Temple Chambers’ employment and discrimination team is an important player in the field. We have acknowledged expertise representing both employer and employee, covering all aspects of collective and individual employment law, including High Court breach of contract and injunction proceedings, and all aspects of individual and collective employment rights.

We appear regularly in the civil courts and tribunals, before the Central Arbitration Committee, all appellate courts, and in mediations. Members of our team also accept instructions to act as external decision-makers, and to advise public and private sector employers and service-providers.

Major test-cases in which members of the team appeared in 2010 include British Airways v Williams [2010] UKSC 16, which will determine the holiday pay of thousands of individuals across the aviation industry; Sagoo & ors v Birmingham City Council, believed to be the largest of the vast multi-claimant local authority equal pay cases; and USA v Nolan [2010] EWCA Civ 1223, which will affect the consultation rights of workers across Europe in relation to redundancy.

Members of Chambers who advise and represent in employment law disputes, listed in order of call (experience), are:-

  • Richard Lissack QC
  • Gerard McDermott QC
  • Andrew Short QC
  • Keith Bryant QC
  • Mark Mullins
  • Natasha Joffe
  • Daniel Barnett
  • Naomi Cunningham
  • Andrew Allen
  • Benjimin Burgher
  • Lydia Seymour
  • David Grant
  • James Arnold
  • Naomi Ling
  • Oliver Assersohn
  • Eleanor Davison
  • Michael Uberoi
  • Farhaz Khan
  • Saul Margo
  • Ben Bradley
  • Clare Baker
  • Samantha Cooper
  • Robert Dickason
  • Keira Gore
  • Nicholas Hill
  • Will Young
  • Katarina Sydow
  • Saaman Pourghadiri

Please see for further details.
For further information, or to enquire about his
availability, please contact Daniel Barnett's clerks on 020 7353 6381 or visit
Daniel Barnett
Outer Temple Chambers
The Outer Temple
222 The Strand
London, WC2R 1BA
Tel: 020 7353 6381
Fax: 020 7583 1786
Document Exchange: LDE 351 (Chancery Lane)