Employment Tribunals

Why would I need to use an Employment Tribunal?

If you are involved in an employment-related dispute with your employer, which has not been resolved by a grievance procedure, the next step is to make a claim against your employer. The case will be heard by an Employment Tribunal, which comprises (usually) a judge and two lay members.

The most common disputes that come before Employment Tribunals are concerned with unfair dismissal, redundancy payments and employment discrimination. Other cases might involve an employer failing to pay wages or whistleblowing.

If you wish to make a claim to the Employment Tribunal, you have to lodge the claim in most cases within three months of your employment ending or the problem happening. The time limit for cases of equal pay and for redundancy are, usually, six months.

To make a claim to the Employment Tribunal, it costs either £160 or £250 when starting their Employment Tribunal, depending on the type of claim, and a further payment of £230 or £950 for the actual hearing, again depending on the type of claim. The more expensive hearing fee is for claims for: unfair dismissal; equal pay; discrimination; and whistleblowing.

In all cases, the Employment Tribunal may not award damages that exceed £25,000 for all claims for breach of contract.

What happens if I lose or disagree with the decision?

If you lose your case, you can ask the tribunal to reconsider the decision (or ‘judgment’) if you lose your case. You must write to the Employment Tribunal office within 14 days of getting the decision, saying why you want it to be reconsidered. You have to have a good reason for asking for reconsideration, such as you think the tribunal made a mistake in the way it reached its decision, or there is new evidence.

You can also appeal to the Employment Appeal Tribunal if you think a legal mistake was made in an Employment Tribunal case. For example, you could appeal if you believe the Employment Tribunal got the law wrong (on which point you will certainly need expert legal advice), had no evidence to support its decision or was unfairly biased towards the other party.

Why use a barrister in an Employment Tribunal or in an appeal to the Employment Appeal Tribunal?

In cases involving the Employment Tribunal, barristers are able to receive instructions directly from members of the public as well as through solicitors.

Barristers offer expertise in their chosen area of law. They can advise you early on whether you have a strong case or not. Barristers can advise on the best way to make your case, including advising on the right wording in the Employment documentation, and assist with the wording of correspondence. Barristers respond quickly, so you won’t be kept waiting to hear from them. They also explain things clearly. As expert advocates, barristers can represent you skillfully in any hearing, to make sure that your case is properly presented.

There is another very good reason to go direct to a barrister if you have an Employment Tribunal claim. Barristers offer excellent value for money: they are self-employed and have lower overheads than firms of solicitors, which enables them to offer more competitive rates.


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