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Follow these eight tips when questioning witnesses at an arbitration hearing

by , 08 October 2015
Arbitration is a full re-hearing of your case against an employee. It includes a full investigation into the fairness of the dismissal.

Presenting your evidence at the hearing is vitally important because it's what you'll use to prove your contractual right to dismiss her in the first place.
Amongst the presentation of your evidence, you'll show that your company suffered harm or that, if the offence had continued, your company would've suffered harm.

All this will support your claim that the dismissal was substantively fair.

This can come about during the process of questioning the witness as their testimonies can count towards building your 'evidence-in-chief'.

Having said that, here are 10 important tips for when you question witnesses:

When your witness takes the stand, put him at ease by asking him some straightforward questions and by asking him to state his position in the organisation.
Ensure that your questions follow a logical approach. Prepare notes beforehand and make sure you stay on track, according to them, so you don't confuse the witness.
Make sure your questions are clear. NEVER ask a question to which the witness doesn't know the answer.

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Did you know a full 38% if all cases end up at arbitration, the Labour Court or in strikes or lock-outs? That's a massive 247 cases that leave employers, just like you, battling it out with an employee.
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Lead the questions, not the witness. Leading the witness is when you pretty much put words in the witness's mouth. Don't do this!
When facts are in dispute, simply ask the witness to explain them in his own words.
You can clarify any points while the witness is giving his testimony. This can be done to place emphasis on what the witness is saying.
Stay away from hearsay evidence unless you can back it up with direct evidence.
Don't ask the witness to give his opinion unless he's an expert witness.

So, there were eight important tips to remember when questioning witnesses, in presenting evidence, at an arbitration hearing.
To find out more tips, subscribe to the loose leaf service advertised below.

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