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Employment Tribunal: Making a Claim

Employment tribunals are part of the courts system. They conduct hearings to deal with workplace disputes and compensation claims made by employees. In the past, an employment tribunal was also known as an 'industrial tribunal'. This is because, in some cases, it had the authority to award unlimited compensatory amounts.

TRIBUNALS: Nowadays, a compensation limit applies to some of the most common types of employment tribunals.

For example, the statutory limit maximum governs pay awards for ‘unfair dismissal‘.

The fees system for the employment tribunal hearing procedure has now been scrapped.

UK Government once charged a fee for claims involving discrimination disputes and for unfair dismissals.

There are specific entitlements needed to make a claim to an employment tribunal. You can claim if you believe you received unlawful treatment by:

  • Your employer
  • A potential employer
  • A trade union

Unfair dismissal, discrimination at work, and an unfair deduction taken from pay is unlawful treatment. Making a claim to an employment tribunal is not always necessary. Often, using a grievance procedure can find a solution to the problem.

Employment tribunals operate independent of the government in the United Kingdom. The claimant [you] make a claim against another person ‘the respondent’. An employment tribunal listens to both sides of the story before a decision gets made.

Note: Tribunal claims should be made by a claimant within three (3) months of the dispute or the ending of a term of employment.

Before You Make a Claim to an Employment Tribunal

How to Make a Claim to an Employment Tribunal in the United KingdomAcas need to know that you intend to make a claim to the employment tribunal. You must inform Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service before you start a claim.

Acas offer a free of charge ‘Early Conciliation‘ service to try settle workplace disputes. They will offer you an opportunity to use this free service.

It may provide a solution and an alternative to time spent going to court. You can contact Acas for further information and advice.

Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service
Telephone: 0300 123 1100
Textphone: 18001 0300 123 1100
Monday to Friday: 8am to 6pm
Check call charges to 0300 numbers.

The time spent in early conciliation does not affect the total time allowed to make your claim. Acas send an early conciliation certificate if their service fails to end the issue. You should use the certificate when you make a claim to an employment tribunal.

Note: Receiving a certificate gives you the same amount of time to make your claim that you had before starting conciliation.

Expert Help and Advice

Anyone in England, Wales, or Scotland can get legal help before they make a claim. Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland offer free legal advice. Trade union members may also get financial help to pay for a solicitor.

Note: The Equality Advisory and Support Service can help those with discrimination claims. In some cases, you may also qualify for legal aid support.

The employment tribunal customer contact centre are unable to offer legal advice. But, they can answer questions about filling in the employment tribunal claim form.

Employment Tribunal Customer Contact Centre
Telephone: 0300 123 1024
Telephone: 0300 303 5176 (Welsh language)
Telephone: 0300 790 6234 (Scotland)
Textphone: 18001 0300 123 1024 (England and Wales)
Textphone: 18001 0300 790 6234 (Scotland)

Note: This guide explaining the procedures of when and how to make a claim to an employment tribunal is also available in Welsh language (Cymraeg).

Making a Claim to an Employment Tribunal in Northern Ireland

A different claims process applies if you live in Northern Ireland. You must make a claim to the Office of Industrial Tribunals and the Fair Employment Tribunal.


Making a Claim to an Employment Tribunal

The guide explains how to make a claim to an employment tribunal online. You can also make a claim by post if you download and fill in the ET1 claim form.

Going to a Tribunal Hearing

Most tribunals take place at an employment tribunal office near to your workplace. Find further information about the employment tribunal hearing procedure – win or lose!

Being Taken to an Employment Tribunal

There are set procedures for employers to comply with after being taken to an employment tribunal by an employee, a job applicant, or a trade union member.

How to Make a Claim to an Employment Tribunal in United Kingdom