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Employment Tribunal Proceedings, ET1 Claims To Final Hearing

Employment tribunal proceedings that goes through to final hearing will normally take between one year to 2 years. It depends on location and other factors not including a situation such as a pandemic. I have explained what to expect if you are prepared to go all the way to the final hearing. 

Early Conciliation

All employment tribunal proceedings must start with Acas, The claim starts with the claimant getting the early conciliation number without it, claimant will not be able submit an ET1 form.

You must have started this process with Acas and an appointed Conciliator would have tried to work things between you and your employer. You must have submitted your claim to Acas within your limitation date. Limitation date is the period in which you can bring a claim to the Employment Tribunal and this is defined as 3 months less one day at which the incident occurred.

Your conciliator will try to work things out between you and your employer with a month. He/she may extend it by 2 weeks if an agreement looks like it can be reached.

The agreement is called COT3. A COT3 Acas agreement is a legally binding contract between you and your employer. You may seek legal counsel before you sign one. Your claim will be seized and withdrawn once a COT3 is signed. 

Claim Form

At this stage the claimant must have started and completed the early conciliation. Only if exempted then can the claimant submit the ET1form. Even if the claimant is exempt from early conciliation, he/she will need need the certificate to proceed with the claim.  The claimant should receive a letter if  ET1 has been accepted. A claimant may be exempted from early conciliation if they meet these conditions (according to government legislation): 


"a)another person (“B”) has complied with that requirement in relation to the same dispute and A wishes to institute proceedings on the same claim form as B;
(b)A institutes those relevant proceedings on the same claim form as proceedings which are not relevant proceedings;
(c)A is able to show that the respondent has contacted ACAS in relation to a dispute, ACAS has not received information from A under section 18A(1) of the Employment Tribunals Act in relation to that dispute, and the proceedings on the claim form relate to that dispute;
(d)the proceedings are proceedings under Part X of the Employment Rights Act 1996(1) and the application to institute those proceedings is accompanied by an application under section 128 of that Act(2) or section 161 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992(3); or

(e)A is instituting proceedings against the Security Service, the Secret Intelligence Service or the Government Communications Headquarters."

Response Form

The Respondent/employer will be sent a copy of the ET1 form. The respondent must now respond within 28 days (may be extended if the respondent asked for extension) of the posting date.

Certain conditions must be met if a respondent is seeking for an extension beyond the 28 days. 

Case Management Hearing (preliminary hearing)

Once the response from the respondent has been accepted, the ET office will notify all parties of the preliminary hearing date.  Both parties may be represented or represent themselves. 

An employment judge will set the deadline dates for the final hearing, how many days will be needed to hear the claim; deadline dates for how things will proceed between both parties will also be set.

The legal issues will also be discussed at the preliminary hearing and also, particulars of the claim. All or some of the claims may be strike out if the judge can see that it has no chance of success of the full hearing. 

A deposit order could also be set at the hearing too if the claimant insist on proceeding with the claims. 

Discovery Stage

At this stage both parties may get their evidences ready. The claimant may request for specific documents that may in custody of the respondent at the disclosure stage. The respondent may also search and assemble documents they may rely upon the final hearing.

Disclosure

This is the part where documents are exchanged between both parties. The date to disclose documents would have been set at the case management hearing.

At any stage after the exchange of documents, either parties may request for documents from each other if they feel that the document(s) is relevant to the claims. 

There are times when a party may refuse or ignore the other party's request for specific document. When this happens, a party may make the request through the Employment Tribunal. The Employment Tribunal may send an unless order to that party who is uncooperative. 

Witness Statements

As the claimant you must have witnesses you will be relying upon to attend the final hearing. You will get their view of the incidents / their role in the events that happened written down as statements. The respondent will also do the same. If any of the party is using a legal representative, an interview will be conducted and statements are written down. Witness statements will now be exchanged on due date which would have been set.

Final Hearing Bundle

Just before the final hearing day, the list of issues and documents would have been agreed and, this will appear in chronological order printed in an A4 binder. 3 copies sent to out Employment Tribunal and another copy sent out to the other party.

In cases where the claimant and respondent do not agree on a single bundle, each party may provide their copies to the Employment Tribunal. It is not an ideal situation for the judges but this will need to be sorted at the start of the hearing. 

Final Hearing Court Proceedings

This is the stage of the proceedings and depending on the length of the hearing, which could be from one day to 6 days, it marks the end of the proceedings. In some cases there may be an appeal or remedy hearing. 


Remedy Hearing

This is usually done to decide if there will be cost awarded to either sides. The presiding judge will set another date to hear matters relating to cost. In some cases, the respondent would have applied for legal cost to be awarded to them because the claimant as been unreasonable in pursuing a claim that has no merits or no chance of success. 


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