ACAS & Your Tribunal Claim (ET1)
To issue an employment claim before a Tribunal, the first thing you usually have to do is contact ACAS for pre-conciliation providing them with basic information about you, the employee and your employer. The aim being to try and negotiate an early settlement. We can help you to understand what would be a fair amount.
The deadline by which you have to contact ACAS in most cases is three months, less one day, from the date of termination (or sometimes the last act). We can advise you further on the time limits for your case.
If you notify ACAS that you don’t want them to contact your employer or you can’t reach a settlement, ACAS will send you a certificate. Once you have a certificate the next step is to issue your claim. The drafting of your Claim Form (ET1) is crucial to ensure you have the best chance of winning your case and can be completed online. We can help you to draft this. Depending on your financial situation, you may have to pay a fee to issue your claim (usually £250).
Your Employer’s Defence/Response (ET3)
Your claim form (ET1) is sent to your employer by the Tribunal. They then have 28 days to put in their defence (known as a Response/ET3).
Around the same time a timetable is usually set (a Case Management Order). These timetables normally include dates for:
- you sending to your employer a ‘schedule of loss’ detailing the financial compensation you are claiming
- both parties sending to the other a list, along with copies of all documents that are relevant to the issues in the case (favourable or not)
- those documents to be agreed, indexed and paginated into a documents bundle (a ringbinder)
- the exchange of written witness statements, including yours (these are usually read by the Tribunal in advance rather than read aloud by the witnesses, hence ensure they are complete is key)
- the final hearing (and when the hearing fee needs to be paid, which is usually £950).
Final Hearing & Judgments
We will guide you each step of the way, including what to expect as a witness and what happens at a hearing. Depending on the type of claim you are bringing, your case will either be heard by a qualified Employment Judge on their own, or with two lay members – one with an ‘employer’ background, the other an ‘employee’ background.
Whilst we do try to ensure we allow enough time for a Judgment to be given, the Tribunal might want to reflect a bit longer and therefore it can sometimes follow at another time or in writing. There are rights to appeal but these are limited.
Unlike other claims, in the Employment Tribunal each side normally pay their own costs. This means if you win your case, your employer won’t pay your legal costs (but they usually have to refund any Tribunal fees you paid). Likewise, if you are unsuccessful you won’t have to pay your employer’s legal costs.
What Next? How Can We Help You?
We will talk to you about the chances of success for your claim, along with the likely level of compensation. We will also work with you to see if we can negotiate a financial settlement with your employer to avoid litigation, if possible. Our clients are from around Guildford, Godalming, Worplesdon, Woking & other parts of Surrey.
If a settlement is not achievable then your employment solicitor can support you in various ways, depending on a budget you set, to allow you to bring your claim to the Tribunal. Please do therefore get in touch.
If you have received a Tribunal Claim as an employer, please see here.