AN EMPLOYEE’S GUIDE TO EMPLOYMENT TRIBUNAL HEARINGS
Before the Hearing
Even if you are going to be represented at the hearing you need to make sure that you are fully prepared and know what to expect.
Read all the relevant documents including your employer’s witness statements to make sure you know what they say and check that your own witness statement is accurate. You may have to read out your witness statement at the hearing so you need to be comfortable doing this.
Most tribunal hearings are held in public, so if you want to and if you have time, you can contact your local tribunal office to ask if you can observe someone else’s case prior to your own hearing.
The Day of the Hearing
Most people you see at the Tribunal will be wearing business suits. We suggest that you dress smartly if possible.
If anyone comes to the Tribunal with you, they can be with you while you wait for the hearing to start and then sit at the back of the Tribunal room to listen to your case.
If you are travelling by car allow plenty of time to get to the Tribunal office during rush hour traffic so that you arrive in good time.
If you are claiming ongoing losses you will have already provided a statement of loss to your employer but it is a good idea to bring with you to the Tribunal your most recent wage slips from any new job and/or any up to date evidence that you are looking for work.
Arrival at the Tribunal Office
At the reception you will be asked to sign in and asked to wait in a waiting room for claimants. Your representative will usually meet you in the waiting room. A tribunal clerk will also come in the room to check your details and ask you if you want to swear a religious oath or if you want to affirm to say that you will tell the truth when giving evidence to the hearing.
If you have any additional comments on documents or you have realised that there are any errors in your statement tell your representative as soon as possible before the hearing starts.
Your representative may have some discussions with the other side or their representative before the hearing. This is quite common.
Most cases start at 10am but sometimes you will have to wait for another case to be heard before your case can start. Occasionally there will be too many cases to be heard on the day, and if there is not enough time to deal with your claim, a new date will be fixed to hear your case. If this happens the Tribunal usually guarantees that your case will start at 10am next time.
In the Tribunal Room
Most hearings start at 10am, with a break for lunch when convenient (usually between 1pm to 2pm) and finish by 4pm to 4.30pm.
Make sure you switch off your mobile phone before the hearing starts.
There will be water to drink in the room.
Some cases are heard by a Tribunal panel of 3 people. The person in the middle is an Employment judge, one of the other panel members usually has experience of personnel/management, and the other panel member is usually from a trade union background. From 6th April 2012 most unfair dismissal claims will be heard by a Judge only.
Your employer’s witnesses will be in the room at the same time as you.