Each Employment Tribunal around the country is different and so it is difficult to say how the administration of your case will be dealt with. There are however some helpful tips for dealing with any Employment Tribunal which will assist you with the smooth running of your case.
1) Try to limit the correspondence that you send to the Employment Tribunal.
They do not need to be copied into every correspondence between you and the Employer, this is what the bundle is for.
2) Allow time to receive a response.
Employment Tribunals are very busy and the time it takes to process and respond to your correspondence can be longer than you would anticipate. If it is urgent then we recommend that you telephone the office within a day of receipt of the correspondence, but if it is not urgent then wait up to 10-14 days before chasing.
We have heard stories that at some Employment Tribunal’s they operate a queue system with incoming correspondence, and if your file is pulled out of the queue in order to respond to a telephone enquiry it will go to the back of the queue. This may not be the case at your local Employment Tribunal but if you can wait then do so.
Remember though if it is urgent or an excessive time has passed do not be afraid to telephone the Employment Tribunal.
3) Provide realistic time estimates
It is important to be realistic with time estimates, especially with regards to the preparation required and length of your hearing.
If you have a case management hearing the Judge will set a timetable for preparation of your evidence and witness statements. If you do not think that you can meet the time scale that the Judge has proposed then say so at the Hearing. It is better to explain why to the Judge than have to argue with the Employer later on to get an extension.
Be realistic about how long you think your case will take to be dealt with at the Tribunal. Do not underestimate this as it will result in your case being part heard, which could lead to a long delay in getting a future listing of the second half of your case.
When considering the timing of the Hearing you should be aware that the amount of time in one day for your Hearing will probably be about 5 hours, if it cannot be dealt with in a maximum of 5 hours then you will need to more than one day.
4) Avoid asking for last minute postponements
As with anything a last minute postponement should be for a genuine emergency only. If you do not think that you will be able to attend the Hearing for any reason you should notify the Employment Tribunal as soon as possible by making an application to postpone/ re-list.
If you are too ill to attend on the morning of the Hearing you should telephone the Employment Tribunal first thing in the morning and obtain a Doctor’s note to support your reason.
5) Make a note of your telephone calls to the Employment Tribunal
As with your contact with the Employer it is important to keep a note of all of you telephone calls or contact with the Employment Tribunal. You should be allocated with a case worker and provided with their direct telephone number, but if you call and speak to someone else be sure to note their name.
Your note should include the date, time, name of the person you spoke to and what was discussed. File these notes in a folder in date order with the oldest first, and be sure to take these notes with you to any hearings, as you never know when an issue may arise for which you have a file note.
If you have experience of dealing with the Employment Tribunal and have any hints or tips that would be helpful to others please leave a comment below. We are particularly keen to hear your experiences with the different Employment Tribunal’s around the country.