Employment tribunals: How to make a tribunal claim

In this guide, we explain what you need to consider before you start filling in the employment tribunal claim form – called the ‘ET1’ form.

We then take you step-by-step through the form and how to fill it in, focusing in particular on the section about the ‘details of your claim’ which is the most important part to get right.

If you would like to find out more about employment tribunals, see our introduction to tribunals.  If you’re already familiar with the basics, then you may like to have a look at Your tribunal journey as a claimant, which takes you through the steps involved in getting an employment tribunal claim through the system, from start to finish.

 

What steps to take before completing the employment tribunal claim form?

1. You need to have met all the necessary and very strict, deadlines to make an employment tribunal claim (see Employment tribunal claims: time limits).

2. You should have obtained the Acas certificate explained here .

3.  You need to have checked out in advance the type(s) of claim(s) you are making. It’s important to set out all legal complaints in the ET1.

For example, if you want to claim both unfair dismissal and pregnancy discrimination then you should say so in the ET1 form. Don’t leave one of them out as it will be difficult to amend your claim at a later stage.

A list of possible claims is given on our page: Employment tribunals types of claims.

Then you can complete the claim form knowing that you have done everything necessary prior to submitting a claim.

 

Completing the ET1 tribunal claim form

The ET1 claim form can be completed and submitted on the gov.uk website here or printed, completed offline and then posted. (It will be processed more quickly if it’s submitted online.) It must be completed in full and will be rejected if you leave anything out.

Make sure you keep a full copy of the completed ET1 claim form and of any separate documents that you attach to the form.

A lot of the form is concerned with general information, such as the name and address of you and your employer and your dates of employment, so it’s not as demanding as it might at first appear.

What should you include in the ET1 ‘Details of claim’?

The form also allows you to set out the details of your complaint under the heading ‘details of claim’ (section 8).

This is the most important part of your claim form to get right.  It is your opportunity to explain to the tribunal – and to your employer – what it is that you are aggrieved about. You don’t need to provide witness evidence or lengthy legal argument at this stage but it is helpful to include:

  1. The facts of the case – what you say happened and when, in chronological order.
  2. Evidence – why you say the tribunal should accept your version of events. Are there any emails or statements that back you up? If there are, then refer to them.
  3. Claims – what kind of claims are you making? Unfair dismissal? Sex discrimination? Maternity discrimination? Holiday pay? Then say so and try to include all relevant types of claim because you may have difficulty adding claim types later.
  4. Legal argument – why should your claims succeed? This does not have to be lengthy but it is helpful if you can point to any pieces of legislation or judgements that you are relying on to support your case.
  5. Remedy – what is it that you are asking for? If you have been dismissed do you want your job back? Or are you seeking compensation?

 

It is important to get the right balance in your details of claim. Don’t be too brief. So for example simply saying; ‘I was dismissed on [date]. I have been unfairly dismissed and I am seeking compensation’ is unlikely to be enough.

On the other hand, the tribunal does not want to see pages and pages of verbatim discussions or long quotes from policies or correspondence.

A good way of testing whether a claim has included everything that it should is to ask yourself; ‘if I prove everything I have set out here, will I win the case?’ If the answer is yes, then it’s probably good to go. If the answer is no, then you probably haven’t included everything you should have.

If you are only going to use a lawyer for one thing in your employment tribunal claim, then use one to complete the ET1 details of claim on your behalf.

This document will be referred to again and again throughout the case. If anything important is missing, especially a type of legal claim which you didn’t think about, then you will probably find that you are out of time to add it in at a later stage – the three-month (less one day) time limit will probably apply. So build your tribunal claim on the solid foundation of a professionally drafted ET1.

How should you fill in the rest of the ET1 form?

Your information

Name and Address – Self-explanatory

Group Claims –  Select ‘No’ unless you are making a claim with others based on the same legal basis

Representative’s Details –  Complete if you have instructed a solicitor or other organisation to represent you during the proceedings.

Respondent’s details

Name of Respondent – this should be the correct legal title for your employer and should match the information that you provided to Acas during the Early Conciliation Process.

You should provide the head office address, postcode and telephone number

An additional box will appear if you worked in a different place to the main or head office

Do you have an Acas Early Conciliation Certificate number? –  Enter your certificate number in this part of the form. If you don’t have one then you need to get one, unless one of the exemptions apply. Access the Acas form here. This is a free service.

You will then be contacted by Acas. Once they’ve tried and failed to negotiate a settlement, or if you tell them to issue a certificate prior to that point, they will issue you a certificate. This just ensures that all claimants have at least attempted to settle out of court.

The Early Conciliation period affects the time limits for bringing a claim which is discussed in more detail in our article on time limits for employment tribunal claims.

Do you wish to add additional respondents? –  There may be additional Respondents in some types of discriminations claim and other companies if your employer changes whilst you were employed. For example, if there was a TUPE transfer.

Were you employed by a Respondent? – highly likely that the answer will be yes but you are asked to explain if you are still employed, working your notice period or no longer working for this employer.

About the Claim

You are then asked to provide information about the claim types you are pursuing:

  • Unfair Dismissal
  • Protective Award
  • Discrimination
  • Pay
  • Other type of claim
  • Whistleblowing claim

Claims Details – As already mentioned, this is the most important section. It’s often advisable to instruct a lawyer to draft this part. If you want to do it yourself, we have some free templates here which you can attach to your claim. (there is a word limit on the form itself but you can attach the details of the claim as a separate document if you wish.)

Similar Claims –  Do you know if other claimants are making a similar claim? Self-explanatory

Claim Outcome –  What do you want if your claim is successful? Most people will say compensation only but if you have been dismissed there can be tactical reasons to ask for your old job back or another job with the same employer

What compensation or other outcome are you seeking – just write ‘damages’ (this is standard and it gets assessed much later)

What should you do after submitting the ET1 claim form?

Once you have completed the ET1 form, you will be asked to check your claim before submission. Again, it is very important that you check that all the information is correct as amending it at a later stage can be complex and will generally be at the discretion of the judge.

Once you have submitted the ET1 form you will receive an email confirmation of receipt from the tribunal. It is important to keep a copy of what you have submitted and of the receipt confirmation for your records.

The tribunal will process your claim usually within a few days of receipt and send a copy to your employer who will then have 28 days to file their response.

Next steps

If you are new to employment tribunals and what they do, see our introduction to tribunals.  If you want to find out what happens to your tribunal claim after you have submitted it, see our guide to Your tribunal journey right up to the day you get the tribunal’s judgement about your claim.

There are also examples of completed employment tribunal ET1 forms on our website which you can download and adapt freely for your own use.

A well-written, well organised and legally accurate ET1 can go a long way towards winning a case. Our experienced employment law solicitors have years of experience in writing ET1 forms and in successfully representing employees in employment tribunal cases.

Get in touch with Monaco Solicitors if you would like us to help or advise you on any aspect of your employment tribunal case:

 

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