This topic has cropped up in discussion from time-to-time on this forum. A recent decision has broadened the scope of who may accompany an employee in a discrplinary hearing, though the decision should be treated with caution. In Stevens v University of Birmingham  EWHC 2300 (QB), Mr Stevens, an academic, was the subject of allegations regarding his role as chief investigator of clinical trials of patients with diabetes. He was invited to attend a disciplinary investigation. He was not a member of a union and did not have a suitable colleague to accompany him. However, he had been assisted by Dr Palmer from the Medical Protection Society, a medical defence organisation. Mr Stevens requested that Dr Palmer accompany him. The university refused. Mr Stevens alleged that the refisal was a breach of the implied term of mutual trust and confidence. The High Court held that the university had breached the implied term of trust and confidence due to: (i) the seriousness of the allegations; (ii) the investigatory interview being a crucial stage of the process; (iii) the objectve perception of an inequality of arms in the circumstances; (iv) MPS serving a similar function to a union in the circumstances; (v) Mr Stevens having been assisted by Dr palmer to that points; and (vi) there being no-one else who could have accompanied him. This decision may be of assistance to those preferring to access their support from organisations from Edapt (which is not a union) or a Citizens Advice employment specialist, where the circumstances are similar. Teachers or other education workers relying on Edapt or CA have been accompanied from representatives from those organisations hitherto. However, the statute conveys no automatic right to be accompanied by anyone other than a union rep or colleague and employees have threfeore been at the whim of the employer. The note of caution is that this decision is from the High Court. It appears to be at odds with the Supreme Court decision in R (on the application of G) v Governors of X School and Y City Council, which held that the employee had recourse to a separate, independent body which ultimately made the decision about the fitness to continue to work in the profession. This was about the right to have legal representation; the Stevens case is about an alternative but comparable representative to a union or colleague. I do not know yet whether the decision in Stevens will be appealed - but it's certainly one to watch.