Employment Tribunal Rules and Procedures

By Andrew Willis
27 Jan 2022

How do you deal with the employment tribunal claim process as an employer? When you have to face a claim, you can better prepare if you know exactly what you are preparing for.

When a workplace conflict is escalating, consider what you need to do should it go to court. Ensure you are comprehensive in completing all necessary paperwork to demonstrate your efforts to staying legally compliant and resolving the situation. Having prepared these documents and having gained an understanding of the employment tribunal process, you will face a claim with far better chances of success.

Our experienced legal advisors will support you through the entire employment tribunal process steps, as described below. We aim to help you save time and money, so you can return to running your business as soon as possible. Call us today on 01455 858 132.

Get a basic understanding of the purpose of an employment tribunal in this Croner article. Here, we will lay out the employment tribunal process in the UK and everything you need to know about it.

Employment tribunal procedure guide, step by step

When an employee submits a claim, they need to follow certain steps, just as the employer does when responding. To keep it simple, we will give you a straightforward employment tribunal process guide below:

This stage involves ACAS in the employment tribunal process. To avoid wasting time and money, the staff member and the employer can attempt to find a solution now. ACAS helps the employee with advice, while our legal advisors can help you in the same way.

  • Submitting the claim

The claimant needs to fill in and send the relevant form.

  • Responding to the claim

The respondent needs to respond to the claim made.

  • Assessing the merits

The judge will review both submissions and will decide what should happen next.

  • Preparations of hearings

The judge decides on the employment tribunal process timescale and can request for further information. They will seek proposed remedies from the employer, who can present their assessment of the value of the claim. Documentation and witness statements will be presented to all parts involved.

  • Hearings, including remedy hearing

At this stage, the judge will listen to evidence from the witness and come to a decision. The remedy hearing will set out any award payable to the employee.

  • Appeal

Any of the parts involved can decide to make an appeal. We will discuss the employment appeal tribunal process further below in this article.  

Employment tribunal hearing procedure

We will next walk you through what is happening during a court hearing, so you know what to expect.

If the hearing takes place in person, the clerk greets the employee and employer separately. They guide them to separate waiting rooms. Both the claimant and the respondent will give evidence of oath, with or without a holy book involved.  

Online, all you need to remember is to have the link the tribunal sent you ready. Also, keep your phone available, but silent, in case they need to contact you that way.

As an employer, you can submit new evidence during the hearing. The judge will weigh and decide on its relevance. If they find it relevant, you will be allowed to use it. Remember though, if the claimant makes a valid point about not having had enough time to prepare, you risk incurring further costs. The judge might ask you to pay them for the time they need to prepare their response.

Employment Law Tribunal Procedure

You can offer to settle the dispute on the day, and we recommend you do it through your representative. They will discuss with the representative of your employee, or the individual themselves. This takes the pressure and stress off your hands, reducing the risk of getting distracted and making mistakes.

You will give evidence, as will the claimant and any witnesses. Makes sure that you don’t leave anything out and that you address all the points in the claim.

Your representative will also cross-examine the claimant.

Employment tribunal rules of procedure in the UK

At each of the stages explained above, rules of procedures apply. The UK Government provides extensive documentation on how the whole process should take place. While this can feel like a lot of information to grasp and navigate, let’s break it down to the main points.

The rules detailed in government documentation offer the legal framework for:

  • Starting a claim
  • Responding to a claim
  • Contract claims
  • Case management orders
  • Hearings
  • The judge’s decision
  • Costs orders
  • Delivering documents

Bear in mind these rules outline how each stage should look once the employee made the claim. The advice given to workers encourages them to go the early conciliation route first. This gives the employer a chance to settle the conflict before it escalates into a court case.

Besides the early conciliation that could prevent an employment tribunal, your grievance procedure could help you solve work disputes early.

The rules we mentioned also set out minimum requirements for each stage to proceed. Let’s describe what such requirements look like, below.

Requirements in the employment tribunal procedure

The employment law tribunal procedure starts with the employee making the claim. While this interests you less as an employer, it helps to know what needs to happen for this to progress into the next stage.

They need to submit an ET1 claim form, within the three-month time limit from the incident. Claimants can do so online and provide the minimum relevant information for the judge to consider the case. As explained in governmental documents, this form needs to supply each claimant’s name and address, and each respondent’s name and address.

Why multiple claimants and respondents?

Let’s consider a real-life example. Several young employees, under the age of 25, decide to submit an age discrimination claim, after early conciliation failed. In this case, you’ll have multiple claimants.

In another example, one or more workers decide to make a claim against both their line manager and senior management. In this case, they will provide all the respondents names and addresses. Otherwise, the judge will likely decide to reject the claim.

Employment Tribunal Rules Of Procedure

After rejecting the case, the judge could reconsider if the claimant can rectify the mistake.

In the next stage, they will forward the copy of the claim form to the respondent/s. They will also communicate how to submit a response and how much time they have to do so. Information about what will happen if the employer fails to respond will also be included.

You need to be aware of and follow all the minimum requirements to avoid losing in court.

What about the employment tribunal appeal procedure in the UK?

If you find the judge’s decision unsatisfactory, you might ask yourself what next?

As an employer, you can follow the employment tribunal appeal process. Consider the reasons carefully, and only decide to go this route if you think:

  • The ET interpreted the law wrongly.
  • The ET applied the law wrongly.
  • The ET lacked evidence that justifies their decision.
  • The ET was biased against you.

You can also choose the employment appeal tribunal process if you have evidence that the procedures were not followed correctly. Make sure you support your appeal with clear, strong arguments, otherwise you risk wasting more time and money on an already lost cause.

Need help with the employment tribunal rules and procedures?

As you can see in this article, going through the employment tribunal process can take a lot of time and effort. Trying to interpret the rules of procedure and the law by yourself can prove tricky. That is where we can step in to help you with tribunal representation.

The legal proceedings can take anything between 6 months to a year, under normal circumstances. We will do everything we can to help smoothen the process, should you find yourself in this situation.

Call us today on 01455 858 132.

About the Author

Andrew Willis

Andrew Willis is the senior manager of the Litigation and Employment Department and assumes additional responsibility for managing Croner’s office based telephone HR advisory teams, who specialise in employment law, HR and commercial legal advice for small & large organisations across the United Kingdom.





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