1.3 Bringing a claim in an employment tribunal (Part 3)
ET1 SUBMITTED – WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
After you have submitted your ET1 Claim Form to the Tribunal online, you should receive an email acknowledgement straight away. If not, you will need to chase confirmation from the Tribunal.
You will also then receive a Notice of Acknowledgment soon after you send in your ET1 from the Tribunal. This is the formal acknowledgement that your claim has been accepted by the Tribunal.
After your ET1 Claim Form has been submitted and accepted by the Tribunal, they will then copy and send your ET1 Claim Form to your employer. Your employer will then have the option to respond or defend the claim you are bringing.
Your employer’s response is called the ET3 Response Form. They will also be referred to as the Respondent. They will have 28 days to respond to the ET1 Claim Form. Therefore within this time you may feel that there is nothing happening, and your claim is not progressing.
Once the Tribunal receive the ET3 Response Form, they will copy it and send you a copy.
In the event that your employer fails to respond to the ET1 Claim Form, you can ask the Tribunal to award a Judgment in Default. This means that as your employer failed to submit their ET3 Form within the allotted timeframe, they conceded the claim and the Tribunal automatically finds in your favour. Please note that your employer would still have the option to make representations concerning any remedies or financial awards made to you.
RECEIPT OF ET3 RESPONSE FORM
As stated above, the Tribunal will forward you a copy of the ET3 Response Form once it is received.
Upon receipt of the ET3 Response Form, it is advisable to sit down and go through the response in detail to assess what defence and arguments your employer is seeking to rely upon.
When going through the response, it is best to make notes on points of dispute, and those assertions made by your employer. It is then advisable to consider what evidence you will need to challenge your employer assertions. This might be evidence such as letter, emails, policies or witness statements for particular colleagues or individuals.
You can then use this points of dispute when drafting your Witness Statement in order to clarify your position to the Tribunal, and from a tactical point of view undermine any defence that your employer is relying upon.
Even if you flatly dispute what your employer has stated in their ET3 (and however tempting it maybe) you should never write to the Tribunal or your employer to dispute points. This will be a waste of time on your behalf as the Tribunal will not take any notice of your response at this stage, and again from a tactical point of view, you may inadvertently disclose valuable arguments or facts to your employer which they are unaware of, and would serve you better if they are kept for the Tribunal Hearing, or Settlement Negotiations.
Upon receipt of your employer’s (the Respondent’s) ET3, depending upon the complexity of the case, the Tribunal will either list the matter for a hearing straight away, or alternatively them may seek to hold a Case Management Discussion (CMD), which is an administrative hearing before A Judge between the parties involved.
The CMD can either be held in person, or sometimes it will be held as a telephone conference call.
The purpose of the CMD will be to clarify matters, such as details of the claim being brought; and also to set tasks for parties to complete in readiness of the main hearing, which are known as Directions.
Typical Directions in an Unfair Dismissal Claim will be:-
- Claimant to confirm details of the Remedy they are seeking;
- Both parties to exchange a list of documents they hold in their possession which relates to the claim;
- The Parties to agree a Bundle of Documents to be used at the Final Hearing, which the employer will usually be responsible for compiling;
- The Parties to prepare Witness Statements and exchange on a particular date; and
- The Parties to provide Skeleton Arguments to the Tribunal prior to the Final Hearing.
Dates will be given by the Tribunal for completion of these tasks. It is essential that you meet the deadlines set by the Tribunal for the tasks. Failure to do so may result in the other side seeking to have your claim dismissed, or costs being awarded against you.
In the absence of a CMD, the Tribunal will simply write to you to confirm the date of the Hearing and Directions set.
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