The Tribunal System and its objectivesMost cases are heard at permanent Tribunal offices in the major cities and large towns although additional Hearing Centres are sometimes used, particularly in more remote areas of the country. Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own Tribunal Centres.
An Employment Tribunal operates like a court although it is not as formal. However, like a court it must act independently and cannot give legal advice. Witnesses give evidence, usually on oath, from a separate witness table and normally read their statements out loud. They are then questioned about their evidence or other issues in the case by the other party, the Employment Judge and members of the Tribunal Panel.
The Tribunal’s overriding objective is to deal with the case equitably and justly (from the point of view of both Claimant and Respondent). This includes doing what it can to ensure that all parties are placed on as equal a footing as possible, and dealing with your case as quickly as possible in a way which is proportionate to the complexity of the issues. This may, at times, cause it to appear to favour an un-represented Claimant (or Respondent), for example by asking more probing questions of the other side’s witnesses. Both parties are required to assist the Tribunal in achieving this overriding objective.
The Tribunal generally has three members although some simpler cases are sometimes heard by an Employment Judge sitting alone.
The Employment Judge is legally qualified and is appointed by the Lord Chancellor. The other two members of the panel are lay members and are appointed by the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry from persons with experience in dealing with work related problems.
Employment Tribunal Claims
With the number of Tribunal claims rising, the chances that you as an employer will need to defend a claim at some time increase each will I know a claim has been made against me? The person bringing the claim against you will complete a form ET1. They will send this to the Employment Tribunal who will then send a copy to you.
What should I do then?
There is a strict time limit in which you need to reply to a claim. Do not ignore the claim because you think that it is ridiculous or that the employee will lose interest and go away. A decision may be made against you without a hearing if you do not respond on time. In some cases, you may be prevented from taking part in the proceedings any further.
What is an ET3?
The ET3 is the form that must be completed and sent back to the Tribunal Office as your defence. It is essential that the proper and most up to date ET3 form is used. Keep your response short but it is important that the relevant facts are included. You might want to make a request for further information at this stage.
Be wary of hidden claims such as discrimination or equal pay issues that are not clear from the next? Keep a track of important dates. Documents will have to be disclosed before a certain date, witness statements will have to be exchanged and case management discussions will need to take place. Tribunals take a dim view of anyone who misses a can I do to prepare before a Tribunal? Start pulling together documents that prove your cases as soon as possible (If your evidence is not in the ‘Tribunal Bundle’ you will struggle to include in at the hearing).
If you are defending a Employment Tribunal Claim, you will be faced with many procedures and rules that can confuse and mystify ï¿½ professional legal support from Bibby Consulting & Support will make the process much easier for above is intended to provide information of general interest about employment law but does not give legal advice.