There are very strict time limits. In most claims, the start of the process must commence within 3 months (less one day) from the date your employment ended. For claims of discrimination or where you are owed salary, the 3 months start to run from the date of the act complained of.
The "starting process" is to notify ACAS and invoke the mandatory Early Conciliation process. The time limit is automatically 'paused' during Early Conciliation. If the case is not settled, ACAS will bring Early Conciliation to an end and issue a certificate.
Once the certificate is issued, the time for issuing a Tribunal claim will start to run again. You will have one month from the date of the certificate or the balance of the original 3 month time period - whichever is the longer to submit your claim.
The rules are complicated and it is easy to get things wrong. It is always better to obtain specialist employment law advice.
If you haven't contacted ACAS within the 3 month time period, you will not be able to issue your cliam. Although you can make an application to the Tribunal to present a claim out of time, there are very few exceptions where it will be granted.
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You will need to pay an issue fee when your claim is filed in the employment tribunal (this is either £160 or £250 depending on the type of claim you are bringing).There is a further fee to pay for the actual hearing, assuming your case gets that far- many case are settled well before this time.
There is a fee remission scheme in place which may reduce the amount you need to pay depending on your personal circumstances.
A claim must be started on a specific form called an ET1, which should set out in full the factual allegations and legal complaints.
The Tribunal will review the ET1 and assuming the claim is accepted, it will then send the form to your employer (who is referred to as "the Respondent"). Your employer then has 28 days in which to submit its formal response to the claim, using a form called an "ET3". The ET3 will state whether the claim is resisted (in whole or in part) together with the grounds.
Both parties will be given directions on how the case is to proceed, and deal with the time periods for your to exchange evidence, including witness statements, and also to agree a bundle of relevant papers to be used at the hearing.
You and your employer will be given written notice of the hearing, You will need to pay a fee of £950 of £230 (depending on the type of claim you have brought) before the hearing can go ahead. There is a fee remission scheme in place which may reduce the amount you need to pay depending on your personal circumstances.
At the hearing, you will usually give your evidence first and call your witnesses, which will then be cross examined by your employer. The employer will then call their witnesses.
The judgment is usually given the same day as the tribunal finishes in the more simple cases.
Depending on how many witnesses there are and how complicated a case it is, most hearings for unfair dismissal claims last 1-2 days.
When obtaining Employment Tribunal advice, there are a number of different funding methods available for our work. Our legal advisors are on hand to help with any queries regarding the various funding arrangements that are available.
As specialist employment lawyers we will value your claim and losses and always give you an honest and considered assessment of your rights and likely chances of your success.
Contact us today by calling 08000 93 00 94 or fill out an online enquiry form for a free initial consultation so we can help before it is too late. Good cases can be lost before they even start through hesitation or delay.
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