Employment Tribunals

Employment Tribunals

Employment Tribunals are specialised Tribunals who hear the majority of claims in Employment Law. There are 21 Employment Tribunals in England and Wales and 4 in Scotland. Most Employment law claims can only be brought in the Employment Tribunal, these include Unfair dismissal claims and unlawful discrimination claims. Some Employment related claims such as Employer’s claims for injunctions, Employee’s claims for industrial accidents cannot be brought in the Employment Tribunals and must be brought in the County Court or High Court. Some claims, such as claims for breach of contract can be brought either in Employment Tribunals or Courts.

Employment Tribunals are like Courts but hearings are less formal, however they still follow a similar procedure to Court Hearings, and their judgments can be enforced in courts as if they were a Court Judgment. Most hearings are held in public, so members of the public who are not involved in the hearing are normally entitled to attend.

Before an Employee can bring a claim before an Employment Tribunal they must apply to ACAS under the Early Conciliation scheme which involves completing a form and submitting it electronically or by post to ACAS. The form requires contact details of the employee and employer, but does not require any details of the claim. ACAS then have 1 month to try to conciliate the claim by contacting both employee and employer to see if there is a settlement acceptable to both parties. If the claim is not conciliated, either because the employer does not wish to negotiate or agreement cannot be reached between the parties, ACAS will send an Early conciliation Certificate which certifies that the employee has complied with the Early Conciliation Procedure. Further information regarding the early conciliation scheme is available from the ACAS website and you can access the form here.

Strict time limits apply to starting claim in the Employment Tribunal. For most types of claims the time limit is 3 months from the date of dismissal (not the date of appeal) or the date of the action complained of. As long as the employee has submitted the Early Conciliation Form to ACAS within 3 months, the time limit will be extended by 1 further month of the date ACAS certifies the conciliation has been unsuccessful. A claim won’t be accepted by the Tribunals unless the fee is paid at the same time or a fully and correctly completed application for a fee remission is received. It is not uncommon for application for a fee remission to be returned with further queries so it is wise to submit an application in plenty of time to allow for any delays caused by the return of paperwork.

An Employee can then bring a claim by completing a claim form. more detailed guidance on making a claim to an Employment Tribunal is available from HM Courts & Tribunals Service. The Completed Claim form must be sent to the Employment Tribunal Central Office at PO Box 10218 Leicester LE1 8EG (England & Wales) or PO Box 27105 Glasgow G2 9JR (Scotland). The Claim form must be accompanied by the appropriate fee. The Issue fee is either £160 or £250 depending on the type of claim being brought. Only 1 fee is payable to issue a single ET1 form even if more than one type of claim is being brought at the same time. If different fees are prescribed in the same ET1 form then the higher fee is payable. The higher fee covers claims such as Unfair Dismissal and Unlawful discrimination; the lower fee covers claims such as breach of contract, failure to pay notice, deductions from wages, holiday pay and failure to make a redundancy payment. A fee remission is available for employees on low income. Full information and an application form is available on this link.

The Employment Tribunal will send the Claim form to the Employer and the Employer will have 28 days to respond to the claim. The form to respond to the claim will be sent to the Employer by the Tribunal, but it can also be downloaded here.

Before the case is ready to be heard, the Employment Tribunal will often require the parties to take various steps before the case is ready for a hearing. Usually the employee has to provide the employer with a statement showing how much they are claiming, both parties have to provide copies of their documents and written statements of evidence.

For further information see HM Courts & Tribunal Service website.

The Employee will have to pay a hearing fee when the case is listed for hearing. the hearing fee is either £950 or £230 depending on the type of claim being brought. The Employment Tribunal will notify the employee of the amount payable and the date it needs to be paid. A fee remission is available for employees on low income. Full information and an application form is available on this link. If an employee wins a claim the Employment Tribunal may order the Employer to repay the Employee the Fees which have been paid.

Annual statistics are published every year showing the numbers of claims started and the number of claims finished, how they were disposed of and the level of awards made. to see the most recent report click here and go to Employment and EAT Tribunals quarterly statistics. The link will take you to a number of spreadsheets with tabs at the foot of the page giving a wide variety of statistics over several years.