This post will take a look at Restricted Reporting Orders, particularly focusing on when they should be used and why. A draft application for a Restricted Reporting Order will also be included below for the convenience of potential applicants.

  1. What is a Restricted Reporting Order (“RRO”)?
  2. What’s the purpose of an RRO?
  3. Who’s restricted by the RRO?
  4. What can be restricted by the RRO?
  5. When can an RRO be used?
  6. What should be included in an application for an RRO?
  7. How do I obtain an RRO?
  8. What happens if a temporary RRO is granted?
  9. How long does an RRO last?
  10. What happens if an RRO is breached?
  11. How useful is an RRO?

Precedent: Application for a Restricted Reporting Order

1. What is a Restricted Reporting Order (“RRO”)?

It’s pretty much what it says on the tin. An RRO restricts the ability of third parties to report certain facts relating to cases.

2. What’s the purpose of an RRO?

The purpose of an RRO is to prevent details of a specific person or persons from being reported in sensitive cases in the Employment Tribunal (for example, cases of sexual harassment). The objective is to allow persons who may otherwise be discouraged from issuing an Employment Tribunal claim because of the publicity to pursue their claim without risk of embarrassment.

3. Who’s restricted by the RRO?

Any third party is restricted from publishing particular facts about the case. This includes journalists, broadcasters, and any member of the public (including, for example, bloggers).

4. What can be restricted by the RRO?

Third parties can’t publish such details as:

  • The identity of the person who has applied for the order
  • Particular facts which would allow the identification of that person

However, an RRO doesn’t mean that there is a blanket ban from reporting on the case. Only the particular facts or persons identified in the RRO may not be reported and each application must be considered on its own merits.

5. When can an RRO be used?

An RRO can be used if the case involves:

  • Allegations of sexual misconduct (i.e. unlawful sexual harassment)
  • Allegations of  sexual offences (e.g. under the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Acts 1976)
  • Disability discrimination cases where certain personal details are sensitive
  • Any other case where a worker can show that fear of publicity would deter them from bringing a case to the Employment Tribunal (e.g. a case involving gender reorientation)

6. What should be included in an application for an RRO?

  • The identity of persons who may not be identified if the case is reported; and
  • The particular facts which would lead to the identification of such persons; and
  • An explanation as to why those facts may lead to the identification of such persons

7. How do I obtain an RRO?

Either party can apply for an Order (unless it’s a disability discrimination case, whereby the respondent can’t apply for such an order). The Employment Tribunal (“ET”) can also make an order on its own initiative. If an application is made then the ET has the power to issue a temporary RRO without notifying the other party. Either party can then make an application for this temporary order to be converted into a full order within 14 days. Before issuing an order for a full RRO all parties must be allowed to make representations at a Pre-Hearing Review (“PHR”) or full hearing. Members of the press (or any other interested person) can also apply to make representations. If no application for a full RRO is made then the temporary RRO will lapse after 14 days.

A precedent for a Restricted Reporting Order can be found here.

8. What happens if a temporary RRO is granted?

Reporting on the case is restricted for a period of 14 days. If you wish for the temporary RRO to be converted into a full RRO then you must make such an application within 14 days of the issuing of the temporary RRO.

If a sexual offence has occurred (under Sexual Offences (Amendment) Acts 1976 and 1992 and the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 s274(2)) then information which could allow public to identify parties must be deleted from the record. This is often termed a “Registration Deletion Order”.

9. How long does an RRO last?

A temporary RRO lasts for 14 days. A full RRO lasts until judgment for liability and remedy is issued.

10. What happens if an RRO is breached?

The party that breached the RRO is subject to a fine. If a journalist breaches the RRO then it is not the journalist that is responsible for the fine but their editor or the business that they work for.

11. How useful is a RRO?

It’s of limited value. It restricts the reporting of certain facts (such as particular incidents or parties) but doesn’t stop reporters from attending the Tribunal. It also only lasts until judgment on liability and remedy is sent to the parties

About

The Direct 2 Lawyers Employment Team post daily on interesting employment law cases, Employment Tribunal judgments and Employment Appeal Tribunal judgments. All of the Employment Team posts are written by qualified specialist employment lawyers

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