top of page

Employment Tribunals

Our experienced team understands the complexities of employment tribunal proceedings and works closely with clients and law firms to prepare and present cases effectively. We provide comprehensive advice on the legal process, including preparing witness statements, gathering evidence, and representing clients at hearings.

In court

All Tribunals have specific Rules set down by statute.  Whilst strictly speaking they are not a Court of Law, and are less formal, they do make decisions based on the law and statute.  

Tribunals make awards and also can penalise any party for non compliance with their Rules. The Employment Tribunal Rules of Procedure 2013 covers all aspects of how the Tribunal deals with claims here.  From time to time there are also Presidential Guidance releases.

Employment law is regulated by Employment Tribunals and Appeals are brought in the Employment Appeal Tribunal.  The Employment Tribunal is a forum that is used by Employees to bring a complaint that cannot be resolved internally between employers and employees.

Often an employment issue may start with internal procedures such as disciplinary actions brought by the employer, or a grievance lodged by the employee.  

Every employee has rights at work, some are from day one; the right not to be unfairly dismissed requires a 2 year employment period.

We cover all areas of employment law which governs the relationship between employer and employee.

 

How does the process start?

The starting point for bringing a claim in the Employment Tribunal by a Claimant is for contact to be made with the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service ("ACAS").   Initial contact can be made by telephone on 0300 123 1122, although it is usually by you completing an Early Conciliation Form ("ECNF") online. The ECNF can be accessed here.   If you make contact by telephone, ACAS will complete the form with you - this is a mandatory requirement.   

 

All Tribunal claims have to be lodged within three months of the end of the employment, or the last act complained of (unless in redundancy cases where the period is six months).  The notification to ACAS must be within the same three/six month period, but the time limit to apply to a Tribunal can be extended by up to one month from the date of the ACAS certificate.  This time of extension does also depend upon the date of the dismissal or act and

time scale that has passed before an ECNF is lodged.

IMPORTANT - A claim cannot be made direct to an Employment Tribunal until the ACAS Conciliation process has been completed. It is ALSO very important that you are sure about the correct name of the person who you are bringing the claim against who will be known as the Respondent.  The best way to establish their legal name is by checking either your contract of employment or payslip/P60.  As a contract can be out of date if you have been employed by them for a long time, it is often easier to check your payslip/P60.  You can also check online on the HMRC services tax record that is held for you here. If you have been dismissed and received a P45 your employers details will be on that document.

It is vital that you keep a track of dates when you either resigned or were dismissed and/or the date of the act (i.e. if you were discriminated against), because it is difficult to succeed on extending time for your claim to be brought it you miss a deadline.  We can however advise you on what steps to take if you have missed a deadline, in either circumstances, you must contact us immediately if you are at all unsure.  We can act swiftly for you.

What is the role of ACAS?

ACAS has a duty to conciliate between parties to an Employment Tribunal application where they have been requested to do so.   However, the duty upon ACAS to intervene lapses after an initial “conciliation period”.  There is a 6 week conciliation period.  Once the conciliation period has expired ACAS no longer have a duty to conciliate, although it remains at their discretion to agree to do so.  In the event that ACAS successfully assist the parties achieve an agreement the compromise will be recorded in a document called a COT3, which is drafted by the parties through ACAS, and once the COT3 wording is agreed it will become legally binding and enforceable.

 

If agreement is not reached, the ACAS conciliator will produce a Conciliation certificate.  

How long does ACAS Conciliation last?

Although the maximum period that ACAS Conciliation lasts is 6 weeks, if the Employer does not wish to engage in the process of conciliation which they are not obliged to do, the ACAS Certificate could be issued within days or even immediately upon the process starting.

It is always beneficial  for a Claimant to opt for Conciliation to take place to take advantage of the effect that the process has on the timescales for lodging the limit within the Employment Tribunal.  One you have contacted ACAS and the ECNF has been lodged, the time for bringing your claim is halted until the ACAS Conciliation process has completed.  Once the process has been completed an ACAS Early Conciliation Certificate will be issued and the clock will then restart counting down to the time you have to lodge your claim within the Employment Tribunal.

What effect does the ACAS Conciliation process have on the time limit to lodge my claim?

First, it is necessary to identify Day A and Day B. 

 

Day A is the day you as the prospective Claimant contacts ACAS and Early Conciliation commences.

 

Day B is the day Early Conciliation comes to an end and you receive the Early Conciliation certificate.

 

The limitation clock stops during the conciliation.  If the conciliation lasted for one week, then the limitation clock would be stopped for 1 week, and you would add that one week back into your original limitation date i.e. dismissed 1/5/2023 (Day A) - 8/5/2023 EC certificate issued (Day  B) original limitation would be 31/7/2023 plus one week  i.e. 7/8/2023.

 

However if the conciliation process did not start until 1/7/2023 lasted for the full 6 weeks until 12/8/2023 and the normal limitation date falls between Day A (1/5/2023) and Day B (12/8/2023), the deadline to present the claim is extended to 1 month after Day B. 

The calculations for the ACAS Conciliation period and how this changes the deadline for presenting your claim can be complex and it is important that you seek advice if you are at all unsure, and do that sooner rather than later.

What happens after ACAS Conciliation?

Once the Conciliation period has ended or you and the employer no longer wish to continue with the process, an Early Conciliation Certificate will be issued which will contain the date that you started the process and the date that it ended.  The limitation clock will then start again and you then must submit your claim to the Employment Tribunal which is usually done online here.

 

All of your information can be included on the ET1 form, however if you wish to attach a lengthy document setting out your grounds of complaint, you can do so and attach this to the form as a rich text format file.  However, it is always advisable to complete the form in full and ensure that you tick each box relevant to your claim and type of complaint you are making giving as much information as possible in the information documents.

 

Once your claim has been lodged with the Tribunal, you will receive an immediate email notification confirming that the Tribunal office have received your ET1 form.  It will then be a few days or even weeks in some instances before you hear anything further from the Employment Tribunal about when the form has been sent to your employers.  You will receive a letter acknowledging your claim, and confirming it has ben accepted and sent to your employers (the Respondents). 

 

If you are a Respondent you then have 28 days to send in your Response to the claim.  We are seeing more frequently when we are representing Claimants, that Respondents are seeking extensions to provide more time to reply, particularly if they are legally represented.  We act for both Claimants and Respondents.  A Claimant can object to this, if the reason does not seem to be valid.  However, we have yet to see any such request for more time being refused by the Employment Tribunal.

Once the claim has been accepted some Tribunal offices set a case management timetable when sending the form to the Respondents and this can often result in there being a short timeframe before perhaps a one day trial date has been set.  If there are going to be issues on the part of either Claimant or Respondent that will make it unachievable to be ready for a Trial already set before either party knows what evidence is likely to be called, then an application for a Case management hearing may be necessary.  Otherwise, it is important to ensure compliance with the various dates and stages to be completed.  Although Employment Tribunals are not as strict with compliance as in the civil courts, they can, and will, order sanctions for unreasonable conduct, or even if any party fails to progress the case and undertake the required preparations.

We have acted in many cases and represented Claimants and Respondents at trial in Employment Tribunals across the UK.

 

We provide competitive rates to law firms as an alternative to instructing a Barrister. Please contact us to discuss our packages.

bottom of page