Our employment lawyers regularly defend Employment Tribunal claims at all stages of the litigation process from preparing the Response (i.e. your defence to the claim) to carrying out advocacy on your behalf at preliminary and final hearings and dealing with appeals and reconsiderations.
In each case we will assess the risks and provide an expert assessment of the likely outcome of the litigation. Often claims settle and we can advise you as to the appropriate settlement value of any given claim. At tribunal hearings we aim to (and in most cases do) successfully defend our clients.
Throughout an Employment Tribunal claim we will keep you informed of what is happening and react quickly to any developments. From the outset and throughout the matter we will give you an accurate estimate of the costs and risks of the litigation.
A typical Employment Tribunal case may include the following stages:
From May 2014 pre-claim conciliation (PCC) through ACAS is mandatory before a claim can be lodged with the Employment Tribunal. As part of this process the claimant must complete a simple form with his/her and your contact details. On receipt an ACAS case worker will contact the parties to see if they wish to take part in conciliation to resolve the matter.
Assuming the matter is not settled through PCC the claimant will be able to proceed with lodging the claim with the Employment Tribunal by paying the appropriate fee. A copy of the claim will be sent to you and you will have 28 days to lodge your Response.
Depending on the type and complexity of the claims(s) brought the Employment Tribunal may arrange a preliminary hearing to understand the issues raised in the claim(s) and to give directions for the management of the case. Preliminary Hearings may be conducted at the Employment Tribunal venue with the parties present or, sometimes, by way of a telephone conference call between an Employment Judge and the parties or their representatives. In more straightforward cases standard case management directions may be issued by post to the parties without a Preliminary Hearing.
Standard case management directions will require the parties to disclose all documents that are relevant to the claim(s) and to agree a bundle containing all the relevant documents for use at the Full Hearing of the case. The parties will also have to prepare and exchange witness statements containing the evidence of their respective witnesses who will appear at the Full Hearing.
The duration of the Full Hearing will depend on the type and complexity of the claims(s) brought. In an ordinary unfair dismissal case the Full Hearing is typically between 1 – 3 days. If the claimant is successful then the issue of remedy (in unfair dismissal cases this includes reinstatement, reengagement or compensation) may be dealt with at the Full Hearing or, if their insufficient time, at a later Remedies Hearing.
Employment Tribunal claims are often settled and this may occur at any stage including before or during a Full Hearing or after the Tribunal has given a judgment on liability but not yet dealt with remedy and has listed the matter for a Remedies Hearing. Settlement is normally done via ACAS or by using a Settlement Agreement.