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What are Employment Tribunal Claims?

Employment tribunals are tribunal public bodies in England, Wales and Scotland that have statutory jurisdiction to hear many types of disputes between employers and employees. The most common of these disputes relate to redundancy payments, unfair dismissal and employment discrimination.

When a party makes a claim they will have to present to the Employment Tribunal Office, a valid claim form on a prescribed form within the appropriate time limit, this can be done over the internet but if the form is at all late then it may be dismissed without consideration of its merit.

Time Limits

Rules for time limits can be complex but in general, a prospective claimant will have 3 months from the time the act happened to make a claim although for an equal pay or redundancy payment claim it is generally a 6 month time limit. It is good practice to seek legal advice to ensure that a claim will be issued on time.

Tribunals are intended to be informal in a bid to encourage a party to represent themselves, there is no dress code or complicated civil procedure rules like in a County Court. However, this is a personal choice and some parties prefer to be represented.


Rules of procedure permit several sorts of hearing:

  • Case Management Discussions, used to make the issue clear and to decide the direction of the case.
  • Pre-hearing Review, used to decide if a party is entitled to defend or bring proceedings or if entitled to interim relief.
  • Full hearing, a remedy or liability may be determined here.
  • Review hearing, where re-consideration of a judgement will take place.

Reviews and appeals

A party can request a review of the tribunal’s decision or judgment but if it is believed that the tribunal acted perversely or have misapplied the law then they must appeal directly to the employment appeal tribunal as the review process is inappropriate.

There was a change to the system in 2003 which introduced the fee of £160 or £250 to be paid by individuals when initiating their employment tribunal and then an additional £230 or £950 for the actual trial. This led to a large drop in the amount of tribunals in the 12 months that followed.

If you would like any help or information on employment tribunal claims or would like any other advice, please ring us on 01159 985245