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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi

I am possibly being called as a witness at court while on mat leave.  This is due to a statement I made as part of my job.  They cant tell me whether I will be called or not yet and will probably only be given 24 hours notice.

My problem is that my dd will be 4.5 months old and I have no child care.  I am not comfortable at all putting her in nursery that early and indeed the local ones will not take her at that short notice and also possibly for the length of time needed if  have to be in court that day.  I have no relatives locally and it seems unlikely that any can come and stay on the "offchance" that I may be called.  I have been told the court will pay for child care but I dont have any I can find.  Also, this will be my dd's first real time away from me and it is stressing me out already.

Is there anything I can do about this, if I bring her to court will there be somewhere she can go while I am giving evidence.  Also work are confused about whether they will pay me for that day (as a KIT day) or not as I wont be in the office as such, even though I would be appearing in a work capacity.

I posted a little about this and moved it to work issues before as it was a slightly different question!

 

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Hi

Thank you for your post.  This query is beyond the remit for the advice we offer on the website (designed for fertility law issues) and also relates to civil/criminal court procedures which I am not particularly familiar with (as an employment solicitor I deal with the tribunals).  However, I have made a few comments below which I hope will help.

I recommend that the best people to contact, if you have not done so already, would be the court staff.  You should be able to obtain information from them in relation to a claim for witness allowance and any childcare facilities they have (though I must admit I am not aware of any courts having childcare facilities).

From my limited understanding it is difficult to avoid giving evidence if called by a court to do so.  I am not sure what type of case it is that you might be called to as a witness (i.e. criminal/civil).  There are usually limited exceptions for those called as a witness and you should be able to discuss these with either the court, person calling you as a witness (e.g. solicitor) or with the Witness Care Unit (as appropriate).

You should check your employment contract and, if appropriate, staff handbook to see whether they contain provisions in relation absenses for court attendance.  These documents may also have information about keeping in touch days (KIT days) and the company’s rules and interpretation of how these will operate.

KIT days are a relatively new area of law and there are grey areas particularly around the area of pay.  Your employer’s confusion over what to do is therefore probably legitimate! 

If you would ordinarily be required to attend court as part of your job, and would not have to take holiday or unpaid leave, then it seems that your employer would have some difficulty in arguing that it could not count as one of the KIT days. 

However, that does not solve the issue of pay and this is something that will need to be determined with your employer (in view of any existing policies they have) and what information you get from the court. 

Please bear in mind that depending on whether you are likely to need or want any of your KIT days for the rest of your maternity leave, it may not be beneficial to you to use them on the day you are called as a witness if you receive witness allowance, for example.

Kind regards


Louise Gibson
[email protected]
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you for your reply.  I have been even unable at this point to ascertain from work (despite asking) which court I would be asked to attend.  I think I need to persevere about getting more information! To be honest from what I can remember of the case my evidence doesnt seem that crucial and I cant see me being required to attend more than a few minutes and the amount of stress this is bringing about is ridiculous in comparison to the likely importance of my evidence!  It is a criminal case but the facts I outlined in my evidence are actually in the public domain.

Thanks again!

 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
LOL I forgot to say this is being further exacerbated by my computer going a bit mental and my not being able easily to access my work emails at the moment.....Indeed it has taken 25 minutes for me to type these replies...
 
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