What are employment tribunals?
Traditionally in England and Wales disputes between employers and employees were not treated any differently than other types of legal disputes, and if the matter could not be resolved between he parties then the Employee could bring a court claim against the employer using the normal court procedures.
In 1964 legislation was passed which created “Industrial Tribunals”. These were panels which consisted of a legally qualified chairman, a representative of an employer’s association and representative of the Trades Union Congress. Industrial Tribunals were given the power to deal with certain legal disputes between employers and employees. Judgments delivered by tribunals are legally binding and the Courts will refuse to hear cases which fall within the jurisdiction of a tribunal.
Gradually the scope of cases which tribunals can hear have been expanded and in 1998 industrial tribunals were modernised and were renamed “Employment Tribunals”.
How do employment tribunal’s differ from courts?
The idea behind employment tribunals was to allow common employment disputes to be resolved without the expense and complexity of a court case and it was anticipated that many employees would be able to manage their claims with minimal legal input.
Initially the chairman of a tribunal had a broad discretion over the way in which a case should be managed and this allowed claims to be informal and streamlined. However, over time the rules and procedures which employment tribunals follow have become increasingly complex and technical.
Do I need a lawyer – can’t I represent myself?
The Courts can only be addressed by someone who has a “Right of Audience” such as barrister or solicitor-advocate in the higher Courts, or a solicitor in the lower Courts. However, there is no similar restriction in place for employment tribunals as they were initially designed to enable the employee to represent himself. This means that anyone can represent himself or another person at an employment tribunal hearing.
However, sometimes the assistance of a legal professional may be advantageous.
When should I use a lawyer, Industrial Technology Pdf and how will I benefit?
For example, claims relating to redundancy following the sale or transfer of a business, collective agreements which have been negotiated between the employer and a trades union, and breaches of EU employment law can be extremely complex. The law in these areas is convoluted and highly technical and often specialist knowledge is required.
In addition, claims relating to unfair dismissal, discrimination and harassment are much more likely to be successful if the hearing is conducted by a professional advocate as the issues may be distressing to the claimant and it will often be necessary to aggressively cross examine and challenge the employer and his witnesses at the hearing.
It should also be remembered that employment tribunals operate to strict timescales and deadlines, and if these are missed then your claim may fail on a technicality. A lawyer of employment law consultant can help you to avoid problems like this by advising you at an early stage, ensuring that you case is prepared and submitted promptly and that no deadlines are missed.
Anyone who takes a fee in return for assisting an employer or employee with his employment tribunal claim must be either a qualified How To Start A Business From Scratch practising lawyer, or must be licensed and authorised to provide employment claims management services by the Ministry of Justice.
What are employment tribunals?