Employment Tribunals are courts that hear claims from employees (called claimants) and employers against each other relating to various issues such as unfair dismissal, discrimination, and equal pay. Both parties can bring a legal or moral representative to an Employment Tribunal hearing to assist with their case. Depending on the individual’s circumstances and the type of case, representation can be a good idea for a number of reasons.
There are some charities that provide free representation for claimants at Employment Tribunals such as the Advocate charity which matches barristers willing to offer pro bono support with those who need it. However, there are strict eligibility criteria for this type of representation and their services can be very busy. Citizens Advice Bureau (“CAB”) is another option for free legal help, but they cannot usually assist with employment tribunal cases.
Most claims are brought in the Employment Tribunal by a paper or digital claim form called an ET1 and then followed up with a response ET3. There may be a preliminary hearing, which is an opportunity for both sides to understand the issues at issue and discuss any matters that require clarification before a final hearing.
The claimant will need to present their case to the Tribunal and the respondent will then have the chance to challenge that evidence and put forward their defences. A judge will then rule on the claim and confirm their decision in the Judgment. Both sides will typically pay their own costs in Tribunal proceedings, unless there are exceptional circumstances for awarding costs against one party, such as where their conduct during the hearing was unreasonable. Employment Tribunal representation