In the case of Elmore v The Governors of Darland High School, the EAT upheld the decision of the ET that the dismissal of a mathematics teacher on capability grounds was fair, despite the fact that the school’s appeal panel gave no reasons for its decision and none of its members were called as witnesses at tribunal.
The EAT determined that it is not a legal requirement for an appeal officer to give evidence at tribunal for it to be a fair dismissal. In this instance, “no fresh evidence or alternative arguments” were made at appeal that had not been put before the original panel. Minutes of the appeal hearing were also provided to the Claimant and the tribunal. These “indicated discussion and exploration of relevant issues,” and that the appeal hearing was not “a mere formality.” The EAT also upheld the conclusion of the ET that although no reasons were given in the appeal letter, it was implicit that it relied on the decision and reasoning of the original panel.
It is important to note that the EAT cautioned that each case will turn on its own facts. In most cases, it would be best practice to both give reasons and call an appeal officer as a witness.