A representative will usually be present with you at the tribunal and will handle presenting your evidence, cross examining witnesses for your employe
A representative will usually be present with you at the tribunal and will handle presenting your evidence, cross examining witnesses for your employer and dealing with any legal arguments. They will also be able to negotiate with your employer and potentially settle the case.
There are charities such as Advocate which can provide free representation but have strict eligibility criteria. Other types of representatives include family members or friends who provide guidance and comfort to parties.
What happens at an employment tribunal?
An employment tribunal hearing is a formal meeting with an employment judge or panel. They will either send you a ‘case management order’ setting out a timetable for things to do before the final hearing, or arrange a preliminary hearing (via telephone or in person) to decide initial issues such as whether your claim is within time limits.
You or your representative will give evidence and question witnesses. The employer’s representatives will also ask questions of you and the witnesses, which is called cross examination.
At the end of the hearing, you or your representative will make closing submissions which set out your legal arguments. The tribunal will then consider the case and come to a decision. They may say how much compensation you should receive or that they will hold another hearing to decide on a remedy (such as a new job). If you win, the tribunal will usually order your employer to pay your legal costs.
What is a tribunal hearing?
Most people who bring employment tribunal claims will be able to represent themselves, with the option of being assisted by friends or family members for support and comfort. It is also possible to get free representation from charities like the Free Representation Unit who offer free legal advice and case preparation for people with a qualifying claim but they are in high demand.
At the hearing, you will give your evidence and be cross-examined by the other side. You may also have witnesses called. If you have a representative, they can question the witnesses on your behalf as well as ask questions to help with your case.
The hearing can be held in person or by telephone and video conference. You will normally have at least 14 days’ notice of your tribunal date. You may be asked to bring all the documents you need for the hearing with you. The judge will then go over the details of the case and set a timetable for submissions and evidence.
How much will it cost?
Most employers will need to hire a solicitor or barrister, depending on the size and complexity of the case. They will also need someone from the business to liaise with their legal representative and to attend hearings, which can be held in person or via telephone or video conference.
The cost of defending claims includes not only the lawyers’ fees but also any expert witnesses needed to provide evidence. There are also costs associated with the time lost by members of staff while their cases are being heard. In addition, the public and media are often allowed to attend tribunal hearings, which can damage the reputation of a business following allegations or findings of wrongdoing.
It is important to explore early settlement options through Acas before embarking on employment tribunal proceedings as it can make financial sense for a business. It is also worth considering whether or not your business has insurance that may cover the costs of defending a claim.Employment Tribunal representation