The tribunal hearing the case of Charlotte Monro, the Unison union rep sacked from her job at Whipps Cross hospital, was today adjourned until March 16 – with both legal teams receiving a ticking-off from the panel chairman.
Mrs Monro is seeking reinstatement and has now been out of work for about a year and a half. Even once the evidence concludes, she can expect to wait until the summer for the tribunal’s adjudication to be handed down. An appeal could then be considered by either side.
Already delayed from last November, her claim against Barts Health was halted this afternoon with several witnesses – including Mrs Monro – still to give evidence.
Scheduled for five days, it began hearing evidence from witnesses on Tuesday, after a day of reading for the three-person panel, but will not sit tomorrow.
There were sharp words from Judge Ferris for both barristers, Nadia Motraghi for Barts and Nicola Newbegin for Mrs Monro.
“In a case like this when reinstatement is the remedy, you can’t hang around,” he told them after lunch, as they struggled to find dates in their diaries to finish the case. “We are seriously under-heard this week.”
After both barristers told him about their already-booked holiday plans, he added: “I don’t think that is acceptable. It was always the convention that barristers didn’t take a holiday during term-time.
“If you provide a hopelessly inadequate estimate of its time, and it’s a case that needs to be heard and it goes part-heard, what do you expect the tribunal to do?
“It’s a person who has been out of work now for a considerable period of time. There is a considerable pressure to complete this case, not just the usual pressure involved in a case of difficulty. We have provided you with dozens of dates, and you are not available for any of them until these dates in March.”
For full details of Mrs Monro’s claim against Barts, see the blog post from earlier this week.