Quite often schedules of loss will leave off figures for some types of damage and replace them with words like ‘in the tribunal’s discretion’ or ‘to be assessed’. The expectation is that the tribunal will fill in the blanks.
This is not a good idea.
Your submissions, including your schedule of loss, should ask the tribunal to do something. There should not be gaps, where the tribunal does not know what you are asking for.
This is partly a practical issue. Things will be easier for everyone involved if it is clear what the claimant is trying to achieve.
The other issue is one of advocacy. The schedule is an opportunity to persuade the tribunal and to set up other submissions.
Imagine a case in which a women unfairly dismissed a few months before starting maternity leave. She will want to claim for the loss of earnings flowing from the dismissal. The hearing takes place about a month after she gives birth. One approach would be to claim for loss up to the hearing, then leave future loss ‘at the discretion of the tribunal’.
A better approach, however, would be to set out exactly what the loss is likely to be. The Claimant may not yet be in a position to seek work. So set out when she will be able to start looking. She will probably have some difficulty in finding a job. The job market is unfriendly to new mothers and she will need to balance her search with her new childcare responsibilities. So she should claim for a considerable period of time to reflect this – probably at least six months. When she finds a new job it may well be on a lower salary. It will take time to work back to her old earnings. So she should claim for that period as well.
All of this will be contested by the respondent. He will say that the Claimant should start looking for work immediately and that she will probably find a new job, at her old salary, very quickly. The tribunal may agree, at least to some extent.
But setting out a position is more persuasive than leaving things entirely to the tribunal. It also gives you the opportunity to make more submissions. Once you say ‘at the discretion of the tribunal’ it is difficult to say much else. After all, you have said you are leaving it to them. If you say precisely what you want the tribunal to do, you can call evidence and make submissions to support your position.