Employment tribunals: Judgements and appeals

Once your employment tribunal hearing has come to a close you should take time to review the judgment given to you by the tribunal panel. Not only do you have to understand what it means, but if you lose the case, what is your right of appeal? 

In this guide, we explain more about employment tribunal judgements and what you need to do if you want to launch an appeal against a judgement.

See also our guide on Employment tribunals: Your journey as a claimant

What is an employment tribunal judgement?

An employment tribunal judgement is a final decision about whether you have won or lost your case together with the reasons for the decision and, if you’ve won your case, the financial amount of your award.

The judgement can be appealed by you on a point of law and providing you follow the correct procedures during the appeal process. The judgement can also be appealed by your employer.

How long do you have to wait for the tribunal’s decision?

There is no set time period for you to hear the judgement made by the tribunal panel. 

When the tribunal has made its judgment, you may be told about the outcome in person at the appeal hearing. Alternatively, if the case is complex the judgement will be ‘reserved’ which means you will be informed in writing, usually within a week or two.

If you’re informed verbally about the judgement on the day of the hearing, you have the advantage of immediately being able to ask for written reasons for the decision so that you can consider them further and appeal if you wish.

What are the reasons for your tribunal judgement?

The reasons for your tribunal judgement are the main points about your case that most influenced the tribunal panel when they reached a decision about the outcome.

If the judgement is reserved (see above), written reasons will always be provided with the judgement.

Requesting written reasons for a judgement

If a judgement is given at the hearing, the tribunal will give oral reasons but will only give written reasons if they’re requested. You may request them at the hearing as mentioned above, or within 14 days of when the written judgment is sent to the parties.

If you are unsure what the employment tribunal’s judgement or reasons mean, you should speak with your legal representative or adviser to get more clarity.

If you are representing yourself and are informed verbally of the outcome on the day of the hearing, it’s important to seek clarification if you are unsure about anything.

Note, however, that the tribunal will not allow time for you to question their judgment on the day, but will only explain procedural points. So you should request written reasons, particularly if you want to consider appealing the judgement.

 

 

Do you have grounds to appeal your judgement?

If you win your tribunal case, what happens next?

If you have won your tribunal case but your compensation award is not considered straight away, you might at that point want to liaise directly with your employer to negotiate a financial settlement. Your employer is more likely to comply if they know the tribunal has already found in your favour.

Agreeing a settlement may still be the best option for you, rather than relying on the tribunal to determine it for you, depending on the terms your employer is willing to agree.

For example, you may get a better financial deal in a settlement; it may present a good opportunity to negotiate a guaranteed reference from your employer as part of the deal and it may also be quicker and save legal fees.

However, if such a settlement can’t be agreed, the tribunal will seek the views of both parties on the matter and make a final judgement on how much compensation you will receive. They will notify you in writing and will order your employer to pay it within a given period of time.

Your employer may well accept the decision and pay up. 

Your employer can ask the tribunal to review or reconsider its decision

If your employers aren’t happy with the judgement, they have 14 days to write to the tribunal asking them to reconsider their decision.

Your employer has to set out valid grounds for such a request, (eg tribunal administrative or procedural error, new evidence) and send you a copy of their letter. 

Your employer can  appeal against the tribunal decision

Alternatively, if their request for reconsideration (above) is rejected, or if they think there are legal grounds for making an appeal, they can lodge an appeal against the judgement. They have to do this within 42 days to a court called the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT).

For details about how the 42 days are calculated, See this Employment Appeal Tribunal document, Section 4 on ‘Time for Instituting Appeals’.

How you will be affected if your employer appeals the tribunal judgement

If your employer applies for a review or an appeal of the decision, there might be a delay in you receiving any payment.  If your employer’s appeal is successful, it could result in the original decision being reversed or partially reversed – so you wouldn’t win or might only partially win. See more on this in Appeal Outcomes below.

If the case goes to the Employment Appeal Tribunal then the process could become legally quite complicated. If you do not already have a legal representative it would be a good idea to get one at this point. See Next Steps below to contact Monaco Solicitors.

What to do if your employer does not pay

There’s also a possibility that your employer will not ask the tribunal panel to review their judgement or lodge an appeal, but instead refuse to pay or say they are unable to pay the compensation you were awarded. 

If your employer refuses to pay and they are not lodging an appeal against the tribunal judgement, you have two options:

1. Penalty Enforcement action 

You can ask the government to have your employer publicly named and fined for non-payment if you fill in a Penalty Enforcement Form on the government website here

This gives them 28 days to pay, otherwise, they face a fine (the proceeds of which go to the Treasury) and the prospect of being named on the government’s website. Sometimes just the threat of such action is enough to result in payment being made.

2. County or High Court Enforcement 

You can ask a County Court or High Court to send an Enforcement Officer (like a bailiff) to try to collect the money you are owed. There is a fee to pay for each court service, as outlined here.

If you lose your tribunal case, Can you contest or appeal the decision?

If you have lost your employment tribunal case you may be able to challenge the decision in one of two ways: 

1) by asking for the judgement to be ‘reconsidered’ 

2) by formally appealing the decision

Asking for the judgement to be reconsidered is often the first step you would take, and only make an appeal if your request for reconsideration is rejected.

 

Asking for a tribunal judgement to be reconsidered

If you want the tribunal to reconsider the decision you have to ask them to do so 

  • either verbally at the hearing or 
  • subsequently by letter. 

Bear in mind that there is no guarantee that the judgement will be any different.

When to apply for the  judgement to be reconsidered

You can either make a verbal application at the time of the hearing if the judgement is given to you verbally or do so in writing within 14 days of getting the written tribunal decision.

 If you apply in writing, you need also to send a copy at the same time to the other side (your employer). 

What reasons should you give for a judgement to be reconsidered?

In order for a judgement to be reconsidered, you need to give good reasons and must demonstrate it is “necessary in the interests of justice to do so”. 

‘Good reasons’ could mean that administrative or procedural errors occurred. For example, the tribunal made an error when notifying you about the time and date of the hearing so you did not attend, or the tribunal made a mistake in the way it reached its decision. 

It may possibly also refer to new evidence that has come to light after the hearing that could affect the judgement. If this is the case, you will have to explain why it was not available previously for use during the hearing and how you think it impacts the judgement.

Seek legal advice before asking for a judgement to be reconsidered

Before making an application for the judgement to be reconsidered, we strongly recommend that you take legal advice – particularly about any procedural errors that you think occurred or any new evidence. There is little point in asking for reconsideration if there is no realistic prospect of your request being granted.

For help with your tribunal appeal

Appealing against an employment tribunal judgement

A formal written appeal can be made to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) but only usually on a point of law or – very rarely – on the ground of the tribunal judgement being entirely unreasonable (see below).

An appeal will not be accepted just because you disagree with the tribunal panel’s judgement. 

Your appeal must be based on the belief that the law was applied incorrectly, or that you believe the decision was ‘perverse’ (in other words, not a decision that any reasonable tribunal could have made, based on the available evidence). 

Time limits for making a tribunal appeal

You have 42 days to make an appeal against a tribunal judgement made against you, from the date the judgement was sent to you, with a 4 pm cut-off time for receipt on the 42nd day. 

To calculate the 42 days, use the official stamp found on the last page of the judgement document. For example, if the official stamp is a Monday, your Notice of Appeal must be lodged by 4 pm on Monday 42 days (6 weeks) later.

See also the Employment Appeal Tribunal Procedure document mentioned earlier for further guidance.

Documents to include with your tribunal appeal 

Your completed ‘notice of appeal’ form (Form T444 here) should be accompanied by the following additional documents:

  • An unmarked copy of the tribunal judgement you are appealing. 
  • Written reasons: Where those reasons aren’t mentioned in the judgement itself
  • Your ET1 claim form: A copy of the original claim form you submitted to the employment tribunal.
  •  Your employer’s original response to your claim form: That is the ET3 form that they completed early on in the tribunal process.
  • Your previous application to the tribunal for them to reconsider their judgement – if you made one – together with the tribunal’s decision if it is available.

What reasons do you include in your tribunal appeal?

The written application should detail why you believe the decision was unjust and the reasons it should be reconsidered. The employment judge who oversaw your case will consider your appeal and could refuse it if they believe the chances of the judgement being revised or overturned are low.

The EAT will then decide whether your application requires a hearing, also taking the other party’s views into account before making a decision. 

Further information about making an appeal

More detailed guidance on how to appeal to the Employment Appeal Tribunal is outlined in this HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) leaflet

The completed appeal form and documents should be sent to the EAT in London (or Scotland for cases heard there), at the address given on the appeal form and not to the tribunal office where your claim was heard.

Appeal outcomes

If you are given permission to proceed with an appeal, it will be heard at a special hearing by the Employment Appeal Tribunal. There are three possible judgements you can receive: · 

Confirmed: This means that the original judgement is confirmed and there is no change to the findings of the original judgement. Your appeal has been denied.

Varied: This means that the EAT upheld part of the original judgement, but that part of it has been changed in your favour

Revoked: If an employment tribunal judgement is revoked, it means that all of the original judgement has been revoked (ie cancelled) and your appeal is granted.

Next steps

If you have recently been involved in an employment tribunal and believe you have grounds for appeal, Monaco Solicitors’ vast experience in this area could help you successfully challenge it.

We know that making an employment tribunal claim, attending the hearing and waiting for a judgment can be extremely stressful and the whole process can take a number of months. 

The thought of launching an appeal may sound daunting, but with the support of our expert legal team, we can guide you every step of the way towards a more positive outcome. To find out more about our no-obligation consultation, contact us:

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