EMPLOYMENT

TRIBUNALS

We personally represent our clients at the Employment Tribunal and conduct the vast majority of the advocacy in the tribunal.

ABOUT TRIBUNALS

The strength and depth of advocacy experience means that it is rarely necessary to instruct a Barrister. Barristers would be involved only in exceptional circumstances and with your prior consultation and agreement. This approach ensures absolute continuity throughout the process of litigation.

At the same time it means that we can provide you with exceptional care and support which is paramount during this difficult, demanding and emotional experience. Employment tribunals require careful preparation and sound advice. If you are taking your employer before a tribunal we can offer the support and expertise you’ll need on the day.

THE PREPARATION PROCESS

As well as representing your case before the tribunal we can help with:

GATHERING AND PRESENTING EVIDENCE

In order to properly draft a claim it is important that the details of all the relevant circumstances surrounding the case together with all relevant documentation are provided. This is required to assess the merits of your claim.

FORMALLY SUBMITTING YOUR CLAIM

The Employment Tribunal may reject claims if they fail to supply the minimum information required and they may also reject claims for substantive defects. Therefore, it is important that the claim is drafted appropriately from the outset.

PREPARATORY STEPS TO THE FINAL HEARING

This is undertaken when we have received the Case Management Order which sets out a timetable of work that needs to be done to prepare the case for a forthcoming hearing. We will advise and carry out any such preparation, which may include:

  • The preparation and exchange with the other party a list and copies of all documents that both parties have that are relevant to the issues in the proceedings.
  • Obtain and exchange any expert reports required.
  • The preparation and service of a Schedule of Loss setting out details of the financial compensation claimed.
  • Preparation and exchange of written witness statements.
  • Agree the contents of and prepare an indexed and paginated documents bundle.

CONDUCTING DIRECT & THIRD-PARTY NEGOTIATIONS ON YOUR BEHALF

Negotiating a settlement package is one of the areas of expertise offered by us which often provides an economical way to resolve a dispute if a conclusion is reached avoiding the inherent costs of attending an Employment Tribunal.

The directions order will usually give the dates the case will be heard by the tribunal. The number of days set aside for the hearing will depend on the complexity of the case and the number of witnesses each side intends to call.

DO YOU NEED FURTHER ASSISTANCE?

Then get in touch with us for a no-obligation discussion of your needs

THE EMPLOYMENT TRIBUNAL PROCESS

MITIGATION EVIDENCE

In support of any claim made for compensation and whilst unemployed, the claimant needs to take active steps to find suitable employment. This is known as attempting to “mitigate your loss”. For example, registering with employment agencies, online job sites and signing on with the Job Centre, together with regularly searching appropriate newspapers and traditional media for vacancies.

It is very important that comprehensive documentary evidence is retained to show the steps that have been taken to mitigate your loss, including:

  • Retention of all copies of jobs applied for
  • Applications made and responses received
  • A record of the reasons why any apparently suitable positions have not been pursued together
  • A diary recording steps taking in your job search

THE HEARING

Employment tribunals are less formal than the High Court and County Courts. The overall objective of the tribunal is to deal with cases fairly, in good time and proportionately, whilst minimising expense and keeping the parties on an equal footing.

In the tribunal, the parties are known as the “claimant” (the party bringing the claim) and the “respondent” (the party defending the claim).

THE TRIBUNAL'S DECISION

Depending on the length of the hearing, it is probable that the tribunal will “reserve” its decision. How long you will then have to wait for the written decision will depend on the tribunal’s workload, but it can be several weeks or months before a decision is issued.

Once the written reasons for the tribunal’s decision are sent to the parties, the unsuccessful party has 14 days to apply for the tribunal to reconsider its decision and 42 days to appeal. Appeals are only allowed on points of law (and not because a party disagrees with the tribunal’s decision) and are made to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT).

LEGAL COSTS

Even if you are successful in your claim[s], it is very unlikely that the tribunal will make an order requiring the respondent (former employer) to pay for your legal costs.

As a result, even if you have a strong claim, you may wish to keep the level of your costs under review. Negotiating a settlement package is one of the areas of expertise offered by us which often provides an economical way to resolve a dispute if a conclusion is reached avoiding the inherent costs of attending an Employment Tribunal.

Considering whether an “economic settlement” of the claim might be in your best interests is important to avoid increasing legal costs.

SETTLEMENT

In addition to the cost of bringing or defending an employment case, there are a variety of additional factors that need to be considered, including:

  • The time it can take
  • The stress it can cause
  • The risks and uncertainty of litigation
  • The impact of publicity, which may make settlement an attractive option for either party

The vast majority of employment cases do in fact settle before a final hearing. There are two possible means of settlement:

  • Through ACAS (the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service). Even if pre-claim conciliation has not been successful, ACAS can continue to assist the parties in facilitating a settlement after proceedings have been issued.
  • By means of a settlement agreement negotiated by direct discussion between the parties’ representatives.

EMPLOYMENT CLAIMS AND ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION (ADR)

There are a number of ways both parties can attempt to resolve an employment dispute and reach a settlement, either before or after it becomes the subject of a tribunal claim. These include:

  • Negotiating directly and enter into a Settlement Agreement
  • Entering into a Private Mediation whereby they make arrangements for a neutral third party to try to help them reach a settlement
  • Where proceedings have been issued, the claim may be considered suitable for judicial mediation by an employment judge
  • They may be assisted by ACAS to reach a settlement, which includes conciliation

Employment Tribunals, wherever practicable and appropriate, encourage both parties to resolve their disputes by agreement which includes exploring the possibility of settlement or mediation.

RESOLUTION METHODS

EMPLOYMENT TRIBUNALS and ACAS

ACAS is an independent, impartial organisation that is available to both parties to an employment dispute with regard to possible settlement.

MANDATORY ACAS EARLY CONCILIATION

As part of its reform of employment law, the government decided to impose a duty on the parties to attempt conciliation through ACAS before proceedings could be issued in most claims. In many cases, an ACAS conciliator may appear to be little more than a messenger between parties who are represented by solicitors.

Negotiating a settlement package is one of the areas of expertise offered by A C Employment Solicitors which often provides an economical way to resolve a dispute if a conclusion is reached, avoiding the inherent costs of attending an Employment Tribunal.

EARLY CONCILIATION (EC): OVERVIEW

As part of its plans to make the tribunal system more efficient, the government decided to impose a duty on the parties and ACAS to attempt early conciliation (EC) of most employment disputes (relevant proceedings) before a tribunal claim can be issued.

ARE YOU LOOKING FOR HELP WITH YOUR TRIBUNAL?

Then speak to us today to discuss how we could help