How are cases decided?

Find out how claims are decided and challenged in the Employment Tribunals.

How are claims decided?

Claims are decided at a hearing.

When the parties are in agreement, it may be possible to issue a judgment without a hearing. However, if the parties cannot settle their dispute, the case will be decided at a hearing.

The hearing will take place at an official court or tribunal venue, with all the parties present (often called an “in-person” hearing). Hearings are held in over 30 towns and cities across England and Wales; a full list of hearing venues is available online. Alternatively, the hearing may take place with everyone joining on a video link, or by using the telephone. Sometimes the hearing may take a mixed approach of video and physical attendance, depending on what is in the interests of justice.

An Employment Tribunal hearing will always be chaired by a judge (known as an Employment Judge). Sometime, the Employment Judge may decide a case with two lay individuals known as non-legal members. Depending on the type of the hearing, there will also be a clerk present to assist with administration.

Employment Judges will issue decisions at various stages, and on a range of matters, throughout the life of a case. However, when that decision sets out a concluded position on one or more parts of the claim, it is known as a judgment.

For more information, see the At the Hearing section.

How are Employment Tribunal decisions challenged?

Decisions of the Employment Tribunals, including judgments, may be challenged by way of an appeal. Appeals can be pursued on a point of law to the Employment Appeal Tribunal, and thereafter to the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. Strict time limits apply.

In certain circumstances, parties can also apply for orders of the Employment Tribunals to be varied (changed), suspended or set aside, and they can apply for a judgment to be reconsidered, which might lead to it being confirmed, varied or revoked. Again, strict time limits apply.

For more information, see the After the Hearing section.