With effect from 6 April 2012, the way Employment Tribunals deal with witness statements will change. At present, witnesses normally read their witness statement verbatim, then get asked any supplemental questions by their representative then get cross examined, then answer any questions from the panel and then get re-examined by their representative.
From 6 April 2012, statements will be taken as read (not read out by the witness) and the hearing will procees straight to supplemental questions.
This is aimed to speed up Employment Tribunal hearings by shortening the time it takes to deal with each witness. Often reading out a statement takes over half an hour of valuable hearing time. Of course, the Tribunal still have to read the statement, but the Tribunal generally read quicker than a witness would read the statement aloud.