Press Release

Judge slams school lawyers in ‘terrorist’ chaplain case for non-compliance and adjourns until 2022

28 June 2021         Issued by: Christian Concern

An employment tribunal judge has criticised lawyers representing Trent College in the case of Rev. Dr Bernard Randall after failing to properly comply with tribunal directions made in the run up to trial, since November 2020.

The repeated delays as well as a failure to serve their evidence, have led to Employment Judge Heap having no alternative than to postpone the hearing until September 2022.

Supported by the Christian Legal Centre, Rev. Dr Bernard Randall, 48, who is ordained in the Church of England and is a former chaplain of Christ’s College, Cambridge, is taking Trent College to the Employment Tribunal for discrimination, harassment, victimisation and unfair dismissal.

A 12-day hearing was expected to commence at East Midlands Employment Tribunal from the 14 June 2021.

However, Judge Heap has cited Irwin Mitchell LLP as having not exchanged witness statements ‘seven months after they were due’ without ‘any good reason.’

Having been presented with no justification for the continual failure to comply with the Tribunal’s orders, Judge Heap described the situation as ‘entirely their own making and I make it plain that I do not expect there to be any further failure to comply with Orders made.’

As a consequence of the delay, after initially rejecting Dr Randall’s lawyers’ application to have his claim for unfair dismissal included in the June hearing, Judge Heap has now ruled that all matters will be heard together.

Concerning her earlier decision to separate the matter into two trials, Judge Heap now concluded that it was: ‘in the interests of justice to revoke my decision to refuse the amendment and to instead grant it.’

Responding to the developments, Rev Dr. Randall said: “I am extremely disappointed that Trent College and its lawyers has failed actively to engage with the legal process, resulting in a very long delay to the case being heard.

“This case is about the proper limits of free speech and ideological activism in schools, and it would benefit our whole society to have some clarity on these important matters.

“I regret that a shadow remains over the school and its leadership, which will be detrimental to pupils and teaching staff. I am sure everyone would like to move on from this, but the process of healing cannot start until then.”

Reported as a ‘terrorist’

Dr Randall’s legal case had made headlines last month after news broke that he had been reported to the government’s terrorist watchdog, Prevent, for a sermon in a school chapel which told pupils that they were allowed to disagree with LGBT teaching.

The sermon had been delivered in the school’s Church of England chapel after the school had introduced Educate and Celebrate’s ‘gold standard’ into the Christian school.

The aim of the programme was to  ‘embed gender, gender identity and sexual orientation into the fabric of your school’ and to ‘completely smash heteronormativity.’

‘Justice delayed is justice denied’

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said: “It is often said, that justice delayed is justice denied. For over seven months Christian Legal Centre lawyers have been ready  for this 12-day hearing, but the school and its lawyers has simply refused to comply with the tribunal’s orders.

“As the judge has said, repeatedly, no valid reason has been given for the delay of for the failure to properly engage.

“That said, we are pleased that the Judge has seen through the delay tactics and ruled that Rev. Dr. Randall’s full claim against Trent College must be heard altogether. Too much is at stake in this extraordinary and deeply disturbing case for Christian freedoms for it not to be.”

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