When it comes to Employment Tribunal cases, it is generally safe to assume that those seeking advice and support have never been through this process before. Our expert Employment team, however, have over 10 years of legal experience and all of the expertise needed to guide and support you through this process.
If any of your questions are left unanswered, or you just require some reassurance, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly Employment Team.
We have put together a step-by-step guide of the process involved so that you aren’t left guessing and can focus on getting the result you deserve.
We charge an hourly rate for Employment Tribunals of £250 + VAT. Following our initial consultation and a review of your documents we will be able to provide you with options of how to proceed and an outline of costs.
Stage one: Initial Consultation and Advice Letter
During your initial consultation meeting with your employment solicitor, they will discuss your employment concerns and advise you on your prospects of success based on that conversation. They will provide you with expert advice that will allow you to consider your options which will allow you to decide if you wish to proceed with your employment complaint. Following the appointment, you will receive a letter of advice including advice on the law and next steps.
Stage two: Entering Early Conciliation with ACAS;
If, following our advice, you wish to proceed with an Employment Tribunal claim, it is first necessary to enter Early Conciliation with the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, or “ACAS” as they’re more commonly known. This must be done within three months minus one day of the act you are complaining of, in order to try to reach a “pre-claim settlement”. Depending on the outcome of our initial consultation, our Employment team will be happy to represent or assist you through this process.
Stage three: Lodging ET (Employment Tribunal) 1 and Details of Complaint;
What is an ET1?
If Early Conciliation does not result in a settlement and you wish to proceed with an Employment Tribunal claim, then we can complete and submit the paperwork for you before the Employment Tribunal deadline. Normally you will need to lodge your claim within one month of receiving your ACAS certificate.
An ET1 form must be lodged if you wish to move ahead with your claim. The form gives you the opportunity to outline the details of your complaint in full and share your side of the story. Think of this as your official statement that will then be used to progress your claim. The form will be used to outline the circumstances of your case to the tribunal and will be submitted alongside a document setting out the “Details of Complaint”. Our ET1 service is fully comprehensive, meaning we will help you with every aspect of completing the form. ET1 forms can be complex and easy to get wrong, which is why we recommend you instruct an experienced solicitor to help you complete the form and get it submitted.
A tribunal claim can be very demanding, and often won’t conclude for at least a year after the claim is lodged, unless settlement is reached during this period.
If you are filing a discrimination claim, there will be a preliminary hearing at this stage. Click here to find out more about the stages of a discrimination claim.
Stage four: Schedule of Loss
What is a Schedule of Loss?
A Schedule of Loss is a document that sets out how much compensation you are looking to receive should you be successful in the Employment Tribunal including, for example, your loss of earnings and injury to your feelings (applicable in discrimination and certain whistleblowing claims). This initial figure will help us to advise you what would be an ideal reward from the tribunal, and what figures you should consider for settlement.
For ordinary unfair dismissal claims, the amount of compensation you are looking to receive is made up of two separate awards. The first being a fixed basic award, which is calculated using a statutory formula that is used for all cases and is based on your income from your employment in question. The second is a compensatory award, which looks at your loss of earnings. Depending on the conduct of both parties, it will then be determined whether your losses should be increased or decreased. Having a properly completed Schedule of Loss will not only reinforce your case, but it also makes it much easier to achieve a settlement earlier in the tribunal process.
During this process, we will have an appointment with you to discuss your wages, any money you are owed, and any injury to your feelings that you have experienced (applicable in discrimination and certain whistleblowing claims). We will then consider evidence, such as your pay slips, and compile a document accordingly. We will then advise you regarding what you should consider to be a good figure to propose for settlement.
If you are filing a disability discrimination claim, and the Respondent employer do not concede you are disabled, at this stage you would draft a disability impact statement. Click here to find out more.
Stage five: List of Documents for Disclosure
What is a disclosure list?
The Employment Tribunal will order the parties to prepare a disclosure list that details all documents both parties seek to rely on to defend their claims, and what documents they want the tribunal to take into consideration.
As part of this service, we will review the documents in your possession and determine which ones are relevant to your claims. We with then compile a list of documents for you and disclose these documents to the Respondent employer (or their representative if they have one).
Stage six: Reviewing the bundle of documents and providing further advice
The next stage in the Tribunal process is for a bundle of documents to be prepared including your disclosure and the Respondent’s disclosure. Compiling this bundle will normally be the responsibility of the Respondent or their representative.
We will review the bundle of documents and provide comprehensive advice in writing on the merits of your claims.
Our fee for reviewing the bundle and advising will be dependent on the size of the bundle of documents. We will provide you with an estimate for this work once we have seen the index for the bundle.
Stage seven: Witness Statements
What is a Witness Statement?
A witness statement is to be completed by you, or a relevant observer, of the mistreatment that you are looking to hold your employer accountable for. This observer can be a work colleague or any other relevant body that you believe can provide an accurate and truthful account of your mistreatment. Witnesses who provide statements will also need to attend the tribunal, as the tribunal will likely wish to ask follow-up questions about their statement.
The Respondent will also provide witness statements from the people it considers to be its main witnesses, for example the dismissing manager or the person you have accused of discriminating against you.
An effective witness statement can often be all it takes to persuade an employer to settle, and it is not always the case that the party with the most witnesses wins. It is all about the quality of the statements.
We will also have the opportunity to read the employer’s witness’ statements and prepare answers to any follow-up questions that we can anticipate during cross-examination. Witness statements are exchanged a few weeks or months before the final tribunal hearing, so you can rest assured that you will not be caught off guard with the statement provided by the other party. It is vital that the witness statements are robust, relevant, and totally accurate, as both the claimant and the witness will be questioned extensively on the contents of the statement during the tribunal.
During this process, we will use your bundle of documents as a guide to determine the events in question. This will require an in-depth conversation by our legal expert to chronologically order the details of your claims, and referencing the evidence you have to back it up, disclosed in the bundle.
We need to have a clear and detailed account of your claims in order to properly relay this in the statement. You will need to be very familiar with the bundle and your witness statement, allowing you to answer any questions the Respondent’s representative or the judge may have.
Stage eight – Concluding step: Final Hearing
We will estimate the likely cost for representation, once the final hearing is listed.
The Employment Tribunal will determine the length of your final hearing depending on the complexity of the case. For example, the hearing of straightforward unfair dismissal claims will normally only last for one day, whereas the hearing of discrimination claims will normally take three or more days. Once the final hearing is listed, we will provide you with a quote for representation.
At the final hearing the Judge will consider the bundle of documents and the witness statements before “cross examination” on those statements takes place. In your case, this is you swearing an oath, or affirmation confirming your statement is true, before the Respondent or their representative asks you a series of questions about your statement. The judge and their two “lay members” (in discrimination claims) may then ask you a series of questions. The process is then repeated with the Respondent’s witness statements, with your representative cross examining the Respondent’s witnesses, before closing submissions are given and the Judge provides their judgment. The judgment may either be delivered on the final day of the hearing or as a “reserved judgment” a number of days or weeks after the hearing concludes.
If you are seeking help and advice on an issue you’re having with your employer, we’re here for you. Contact our Employment Law team today on 0151 282 1700 to book your initial consultation.
Alternatively, you can make an enquiry or request a callback and a member of the team will be in touch to discuss your situation.
How will I pay for legal representation in an Employment case?
There are a range of options which we can discuss to fund your legal matter. From damaged based agreements (also known as no win no fee), to privately paying employment matters. We would review your matter to ascertain which funding option is best, depending on the specifics of your case.
Can I pay by the hour?
Yes, we offer legal advice at an hourly rate of £250 plus VAT.
We will always provide you with an estimate of time for each step of the Tribunal process. We keep records of time spent on your case to deliver clarity for every client.
We would always urge you to consider this option carefully as it can be costly, it may be the case that you wish to do some of the work on your own first and then instruct us to take over the matter at a later date. Again, we would assess your merits and advise you as to the likely cost, step by step.
The cost of taking an employment matter through to a final hearing, can cost anything between £15,000.00 and £50,000.00 (plus VAT). In addition to this there will be Barristers fees and other expenses (also known as disbursements).
Will my insurance pay for my employment case?
It may be the case that your home insurance cover has legal expenses attached. This can be used to cover legal fees relating to employment disputes. We would urge you to check the wording within the policy, if you think legal expenses are covered by your policy we can contact your insurance provider to check that they will indemnify us for our legal fees in representing you.
Where this is the case, your policy will usually offer funding up to a set limit for employment claims that are thought to have a reasonable chance of success (usually over 51%), and which begin after you have exhausted your employer's internal processes and sought early conciliation through ACAS.
Will you offer me a fixed fee for my case?
In some circumstances, a fixed fee for specific work might be an option for you. We would need to assess the work which you require us to undertake and will provide you with the figure before you commit to us commencing any work on your behalf.
Damaged Based Agreements (DBA)?
In limited circumstances, a damaged based agreement (DBA) (better known as a no win no fee agreement) may be offered to cover your Employment Tribunal. This would only cover our fees, and if you were to win or be offered a settlement, (which was agreeable) we would deduct up to 35% (including VAT) from your settlement or the award you obtain after the final hearing.
A damaged based agreement will not cover your Barristers fees, or any disbursements and therefore they would be covered as a direct cost by you.