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Employment Tribunals – Bond Williams presentation 13th June 2013

  13th June 2013      
 Employment Law

Presented By Paul Burton of Frettens Solicitors

Types of Claims
A long list, but the main ones are:

  • Unfair Dismissal
  • Discrimination
  • Redundancy Payment
  • Wrongful Dismissal (Notice Pay)
  • Unlawful Deduction of Wages
  • Holiday Pay

Whole process takes 32 weeks on average

Time limits for claims

  • Most claims 3 month time limit

E.g. If dismissed on 13 June, must claim by 12 September

  • 6 month time limit for redundancy payments and equal pay
  • Discretion to extend time limit

Unfair dismissal — “not reasonably practicable”
Discrimination — “just and equitable”

The Response

  • ET sends Notice of Claim to Claimant, Respondent and, in most cases, ACAS
  • 28 day time limit from date ET sends Notice — Tribunal will specify date
  • Can apply for extension but must be before end of 28 days
  • Default judgments

ET Action after Response

  • If not done so already, set final hearing date

Notify parties at least 14 days before

  • Send parties Case Management Orders

Remedy, schedule of loss and chronology by Claimant
Disclosure and exchange of documents
Bundle of documents
Witness statements
Potential for judicial mediation

  • Unfair Dismissal
  • Discrimination
  • Redundancy Payment
  • Wrongful Dismissal (Notice Pay)
  • Unlawful Deduction of Wages
  • Holiday Pay

Whole process takes 32 weeks on average

Time limits for claims

  • Most claims 3 month time limit

E.g. If dismissed on 13 June, must claim by 12 September

  • 6 month time limit for redundancy payments and equal pay
  • Discretion to extend time limit

Unfair dismissal — “not reasonably practicable”
Discrimination — “just and equitable”

The Response

  • ET sends Notice of Claim to Claimant, Respondent and, in most cases, ACAS
  • 28 day time limit from date ET sends Notice — Tribunal will specify date
  • Can apply for extension but must be before end of 28 days
  • Default judgments

ET Action after Response

  • If not done so already, set final hearing date

Notify parties at least 14 days before

  • Send parties Case Management Orders

Remedy, schedule of loss and chronology by Claimant
Disclosure and exchange of documents
Bundle of documents
Witness statements
Potential for judicial mediation

The Tribunal Bundle

  • Disclose list of documents to each other
  • Request documents from other party
  • Both lists make up the agreed Bundle

The Tribunal Bundle

  • What if you cannot agree the contents?

Should be only relevant documents, but usually not worth falling out over disagreements
If other side wants to include privileged documents, maybe need Case Management Discussion
If other side unreasonable in not agreeing you to include documents, prepare separate bundles

Witness Statements

  • One for each witness being called at the hearing

E.g. Unfair dismissal case — chair of disciplinary hearing and chair of appeal hearing

  • Exchange at least 2 weeks before the hearing
  • Again 4-6 copies required
  • Get witnesses to sign on morning of hearing after final read through
  • Witness statements to be taken as read now


Case Management Discussions

  • Reasons for holding one:

Clarify the issues in the case
Decide what orders should be made e.g. documents and witnesses
Decide the date, time and length of final hearing

  • Conducted either in person or by telephone
  • Judge alone with parties or their representatives

Pre-hearing reviews

  • Reasons for holding one:

Decide whether claim or response should be struck out
Decide questions of entitlement to bring or defend a claim
Decide whether a Deposit Order should be made

  • Normally conducted in person at the Tribunal offices
  • Judge sitting alone
  • Evidence can be given by witnesses

Final hearing

  • Decide if claim(s) succeed or fail
  • If succeed:

Decide what compensation to award
Decide whether reinstatement or re-engagement appropriate

  • Judge sitting alone for unfair dismissal and simple cases, with lay members for discrimination

Final hearing

  • Costs determined if appropriate
  • Currently 42 days to pay award (going down to 14 days with new rules)
  • Judgment can be reserved
  • Appealing the Judgment

Wrong in law
Perversity

Forthcoming changes

  • New Employment Tribunal Rules of Procedure
  • Fees
  • Settlement Agreements
  • Compulsory pre-claim ACAS conciliation

The Paperwork

  • ET1 claim form and ET3 response form

http://www.justice.gov.uk/forms/hmcts/employment

  • Tribunal Bundle
  • Witness Statements
  • Schedule of Loss

Putting together a good Tribunal bundle

  • Should be indexed
  • In logical order e.g. ET documents then chronological
  • All pages numbered
  • Only relevant documents

E.g. not whole handbook, only relevant policies

  • 4 or 6 copies required for the final hearing

Tips on drafting witness statements

  • Choosing the right witnesses is important!
  • Cover all the evidence the witness wants to give as taken as read
  • Link to the documents in the bundle whenever possible
  • Do not use ‘kitchen sink’ approach
  • Set out in clear paragraphs

Tips on drafting witness statements

  • Start by outlining what Respondent does, role of witness and knowledge of Claimant
  • Tell the story in chronological order
  • Try to be exact with dates
  • Short sentences, succinct style
  • Compare across statements to ensure no inconsistencies

Schedule of loss

  • Structure — bullet point, separate claims
  • Basic awards
  • Compensatory awards
  • Injury to feelings
  • Pension loss
  • Counter schedules of loss
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