Issuing a Tribunal claim
The claim is started by submission of an online Claim form (ET1). Application Form online
The Respondent to the claim has 28 days of receiving the claim form to lodge a Response or Defence to your claim Form (ET3).
See the government guidance notes.
There are many Employment Tribunals situated across the UK. The Tribunal covering a claim is dictated by the area in which the Claimant worked. There are Tribunal offices in Birmingham, London, Manchester, Liverpool, Ashford, Nottingham, Cardiff, Aberdeen, Bedford, Boston, Brighton, Bristol, Burnley, Bury St Edmunds, Carlisle, Dundee, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow, Hull, Huntingdon, Inverness, Kendal, Leeds, Leicester, Lincoln, Newcastle, Norwich, Reading, Sheffield, Shrewsbury, Southampton, Teeside, Telford and Watford. We represent Claimants in all of these Employment Tribunal offices throughout the UK. Contact details for all these Employment Tribunal offices can be found here
At the hearing, there are usually 3 people comprising the Tribunal who will hear a case unless it is a claim of unfair dismissal or breach of contract where it will be a Tribunal Employment Judge sitting alone.. The Employment Judge, who sits in the middle, is usually a Barrister or Solicitor. Each side of him are “wing members” who come from an employee and employer background respectively. All 3 are involved in making the final decision, which can be unanimous or by majority.
The party with the burden of proof starts and presents their evidence by calling witnesses who read out from pre-prepared witness statements. It is now common for the Tribunal to read the statements beforehand and to take them as read so the witness does not have to read them out. These statements refer to a common bundle of documents. When the witness has read out the statement or kit has been taken as read, the opposition representative can ask questions of that witness by way of cross examination. The Tribunal can also ask questions. Once all witnesses have been called, the opposition undertake the same exercise calling their witnesses who are subsequently cross examined. When this is concluded, either party has an opportunity of summing up their case and then the Tribunal retires to make its decision. It will either give the decision the same day or notify the parties in writing, called a reserved decision.
The importance of having professional representation
A note of caution – putting emotion and principle to one side, Employment Tribunals do come up with some very odd decisions and to this extent both Claimant and Respondent are at risk as to what the ultimate outcome will be. Cases “that should win”, lose and cases that “should fail”, win. On many occasions witnesses do not come up to proof, which means that their evidence on the stand deviates from their pre-prepared statements which causes issues as to credibility and can fatally undermine the case.
To ensure you maximise your chances of success you should really seek the services of a specialist Employment Law Solicitor to represent you in this complex area of law.
Call 0800 612 9509 or complete one of our online contact forms.