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Do Claimants ever win in the Employment Tribunal?

Short version: Yes, they do.

Our post Is the tribunal system corrupt? now has over 100 comments. Most commentators disagree with our conclusion that the tribunal isn’t corrupt — and our wider opinion that, although undoubtedly flawed and imperfect, the system is basically fit for purpose.

We stand by our view. Yes, tribunals and judges do get it wrong sometimes. And, yes, there are some bad bits of law. But that doesn’t mean it’s evil or corrupt. It’s just that not much that human beings do is perfect.

Of course this is easy for us to say. There are some heartbreaking comments on the corruption post and we’re not trying to minimise or discount the emotional impact a bad tribunal experience can have. We’ve both seen too many of our own clients go through the mill for that. Both of us have on occasion become pretty angry about the way our clients – or sometimes parties, respondents or witnesses on the other side – have been treated.

Yet we are both convinced — and bear in mind that between us we’ve seen some thousands of cases — that there is no corruption, no general unreasoning hostility to claimants and, for that matter, no endemic incompetence from judges and members.

We’re far from uncritical fans of the system. But deciding that the tribunal is corrupt is a misdiagnosis. There are many problems — but that is not one of them.

In this context, it’s worth looking at the publicly available statistics on the outcome of tribunal claims. We’ve taken the following from outcomes of all types of claims in the last full year available 2013-14.

Most claims don’t actually reach a final tribunal hearing.

20%, one in five, is settled via ACAS. 53%, just over half, are withdrawn by the claimant. Most of these withdrawals, but not all, represent some form of non-ACAS settlement. So, in somewhere around two thirds of cases, claimants walk away with a negotiated settlement.

Only 3% of claimants obtain default judgment — judgment entered in their favour because the respondent failed to reply to the claim.

Rather more, 8%, have their claims struck out without a hearing. In the vast majority of cases this is because of failing to obey the tribunal’s case-management orders.

Only 14% of cases are determined at a hearing by the tribunal. In 2013-14 the results were split precisely down the middle. Half were won by the Claimant and half by the respondent.

Finally, a matter of housekeeping. The comments on this post, and on ‘Is the tribunal system corrupt?’ will stay open and people are welcome to express their views and discuss their experiences here. We do read every comment. And we won’t moderate comments unless they seem to us raise legal issues, such as libel or threats of – or incitement to – any kind of crime. We probably won’t get involved in the discussion, partly for issues of time, but mostly because we’ve said what we’ve got to say in these posts.

But we’re also going to try to keep discussions of these matters to the posts devoted to them. So, if you want to discuss tribunal corruption, incompetence or malfeasance, this is the place to do it. Off-topic comments on other posts are likely to be deleted from now on.

71 comments

  1. Douglas

    If I have made off topic posts I apologise.
    Please delete them.
    But let me know which ones they are, so I can put them in the right place if there is one..

  2. Douglas

    Generally I hope you know that I agree with what you are saying – That is there is no evil “corruption” perhaps the word should be dropped, there is no evil in the ET. But you admit the Judges make mistakes and at times can be incompetent, people have bad experiences. You admit the Tribunal has many problems. We differ at this point you say it is fit for purpose, I say it is not. You say it yourself only 7% of claimants are successful at the ET less than 1 in 10 this is a shocking statistic at the start 100% thought they had a chance but 93% gave up on the way. I can only say to anyone who thinks they have a chance of success, think again and move on and away.

    • Lloyd G

      Ah, I’ll give it a go. I’ve recently submitted a notification form to Acas. I’ve dealt with Acas before, as my former employer was doing crazy stuff in the past that was aimed in my direction. This is a new claim, though, involving some of the same but also a few new cronies. I do understand why so many people settle. I don’t think the managers misrepresenting my former employer are very bright – they’re more chancers, really – and so I fully expect them to lie themselves all the way to a hearing. This means that at some point I will have to take time off a new and somewhat unstable job to attend the tribunal. I’m not looking forward to that conversation. But such things are unavoidable. I am not concerned about the tribunal being rigged against me. All any of us can do, once the very, very difficult decision has been made to go that route, is tell the truth and let the ball bounce where it may.

      • AK

        You may find that the judge will be more pardoning of your managers’ version of events than yours. After all, you are one of the several people / things they were dealing with – even with the best intentions, they couldn’t have had a perfectly reasonable approach towards you. Not that I agree with this – just based on what I experienced in my ET.

    • Michael

      But 93% didn’t ‘give up’. Most reached an agreed settlement with their employer. Sometimes that might be a form of giving up — where the claim is settled for very little or nothing. But it might also be a form of brilliant victory — where the respondent hands over a large sum of money. Most will be somewhere in the middle.

      If a case does end up being decided by a tribunal, then the odds of the claimant winning are 50/50. That doesn’t suggest a system stacked against the claimant (or against the respondent for that matter).

      • Lloyd G

        I like the sound of those odds. I like your website, btw; I’m learning as much here as I have from reading the Appeal judgements on the government website. Those judgements are interesting because, reading as much as one can about the respective cases, I don’t get the impression tribunals are for one side or the other. What employers have in their favour is experience, especially of the loopholes that exist in the applicable laws. For me the most important factor, far and above the financial, is to have the truth heard and evaluated, as so many – far too many – employers, treat the truth as a strictly relative thing. I’m encouraged by ETs focus in establishing and ruling on solid facts, and precedents. If they were making decisions based on personality, I wouldn’t bother.

        • Michael

          The thing to bear in mind about the odds is that, although they give us information about how cases generally go, they don’t give much indication about any individual case.

          The likely result in any individual case depends on its merits, factually and legally. If the law is on your side and you’ve got the evidence to prove your case, your chances are much better than 50/50. But if the law is against you or the evidence supports your employer, your chances are much slimmer.

          This is all probably obvious. But I don’t want anyone reading the post going away with the idea that all cases are essentially a coin flip –they’re not.

          • Simon Reid

            Yes, that is all fairly obvious, but worth hearing because, if anyone else is like me, they’ll be experiencing an amount of trepidation about whether or not they will be believed, even with evidence in hand. Unless my former employer settles, which I doubt they will, then I am confident I will be able to show how they have acted dishonestly. Confidence in myself, then, to a certain extent; but given the general nature of how events, the little mishaps, miscommunications and obfuscations, lead up to tribunal cases, it’s very difficult to maintain confidence in others. But confidence is restored a little with the knowledge I have a reasonable guarantee of getting a fair hearing. The doubt then is, even with case proven, will that be enough to convince the employment tribunal the damage done to me was as bad as I felt it. But of course there’s only one way to find out the answer to that one. I’ll let you know how I get on.

      • Douglas

        Micheal, I love your optimism. one can read anything from statistics.

        You refer to the government statistics which have changed radically since the introduction of fees.. claims down 70%! have the 50% of these reached a settlement before a claim was submitted? I very much doubt it…

        If the law is on your side.. ie you can afford a lawyer the judge is bias then yes the odds are in your favour..

        You say you have experience of 1000’s of cases of your own.

        To see if they match the gov figures, I’d love to see a breakdown of your figures.. year on year

        Claimant Respondent
        Qty

        Opposition
        with representation

        Claims settled

        Claims determined
        by ET

        Claims Appealed

        Appeals won

        • Michael

          I’m always pleased to be thought optimistic!

          The statistics on the number of cases have, as you say, changed radically post-fees. I’m against fees in ETs in general and I think the way they’ve been introduced has been particularly bad. There’s no doubt in my mind that they’ve drastically reduced peoples’ ability to enforce their employment rights. If I had my way they’d be gone ASAP.

          But the reduction in cases doesn’t seem to have made any difference to what happens to cases that do reach the tribunal. There’s definitely no dramatic change in the outcomes from the statistics — which have stayed much the same for years.

          I’m the wrong person to ask for info on outcomes specifically for unrepresented claimants. Inevitably I only see the represented ones, because either I’m representing them or one of my volunteers is.

          In terms of FRU’s outcomes, we don’t break down our info in quite that way. But in rough terms: we settle about half the cases we deal with and then win a few more than we lose (probably something like 60 / 40).

          My view is that the chances of winning, on either side, are certainly better if you’re represented (although there are exceptions even to this rule). Generally, I don’t think this has much to do with tribunals liking lawyers more than litigants in person — although that can sometimes be a factor.

          It’s for the simple reason that tribunal litigation is a skill of more than minimal difficulty. It takes training, experience and a certain amount of aptitude to be good at it. Lawyers, for whom this is a career, are likely to be better at it than people who have spent their lives doing something quite different.

          But tribunals aren’t judging a tribunal advocacy competition and lawyers aren’t magicians. Skill matters where the tribunal is making a tricky decision that could go either way. It doesn’t generally mean much when the evidence is against you and your opponent’s case is overwhelming.

          • Douglas

            Re – Representation, what you say is a shame – it shows that the Judiciary are not acting in accordance with their principles.

            I believed that the original purpose of the Tribunal was to promote self representation in an industrial dispute, over the years it has shifted away from this purpose and become very legalistic.

            If we had followed the same path for a driving tests. We’d have a Judge in the passenger seat the applicants lawyer driving the car and in the back seat would be the applicant with a policeman and his lawyer, with only 7% of applicants passing the test. Worst of all the applicant could not apply for a retest.

            Now after the introduction of fees only 1.5% of those who had a genuine claim “win” at a hearing whatever that means! Sometimes they win nothing. Only 60% of awards are paid in full.

          • AK

            Winning and losing unfortunately is quite relative. On paper, I won my unfair dismissal complaint, also got refunded my tribunal fees – but was given a large Polkey deduction – that I am challenging on appeal. So, in effect, I lost – although statistically I would be regarded as the winner.

          • Jay

            AK what is the polkey argument and why did you lose on that and get a reduction? Thanks. I have a tribunal soon and need to prepare. Anyone else who can help with experience please contact me. More support the better.

      • Billy Hollingshead

        50/50 sounds fair enough at face value but what is not considered is the number of ‘unrepresented’ claimants. How many of these actually win? Undoubtedly many claimants fail because they are unable to present or articulate the legal issues which sway the tribunal panels. If all claimants had the opportunity to be properly and legally represented we would see a change of that 50/50 statistic in favour of the claimant.

  3. Ann

    Having won ( not on all counts raised )my case at tribunal I can only say that I found the Judge and panel fair and even handed. I do not believe the system is corrupt but am alarmed at the inequality of arms if like me you represent yourself. The whole fees system and access to affordable advice needs looking at now- yes you can have justice but only if you can afford it or are willing to pay for it with your own sanity and well being ! The system seems to have forgotten it’s purpose but that doesn’t mean it’s corrupt.

  4. Pingback: Everything you ever wanted to know about ET fees but were afraid to ask (updated) | Hard Labour
  5. Giles

    I have experienced the Et over many years as a claimant representative, as a lay member of the tribunal and as a claimant (once). In my experience parties (not only claimants) lose either because they misunderstand /misapply the law, fail to discharge the evidential burden or are poorly prepared or represented (not by themselves). I have never seen any evidence of prejudice against claimants or in favour of respondents generally. Not once. My experience supports the stats. The ET is not as a disgruntled claimant once told me “a bosses court.”

    • Pete

      So
      1. If your face doesn’t fit
      2. You documents are not in the set way the legal club want them.
      3. Your made to look silly by a experienced barrister with evidence completely unrelated to your claim.

      You’ve got no chance.

  6. Naomi

    Driving tests aren’t a contest between two sides, though. It’s the element of competition that has led to tribunals becoming more and more lawyer-dominated. That’s not a good thing, but I’m not sure how it could have been avoided. Both parties want to win, and any party that can afford it is likely to try and maximise its chances by using lawyers.

    I suppose you could address that by banning lawyers from the tribunal altogether – but that would create a different set of problems. A supermarket shelf-stacker with no formal qualifications who’s never been in any sort of court or tribunal in his life before up against an HR professional who has done dozens of disciplinaries and several ET hearings isn’t exactly on a level playing field, is he?

    Organisations like FRU can – sometimes – dramatically turn the tables against an employer that has abused its power. Michael and I have both done many case where we have represented a low-paid employee against a large and expensively represented employer, and got a result that has felt like serious vindication for the employee. I think that’s worth doing. It’s not going to save the planet, or even bring all workplace injustice to a sudden halt – but it’s still worth doing.

    • Douglas

      Naomi.

      A driving test is a (con)test to determine if a person is fit to drive alone on public highways the standards have been set, it is a legal requirement to obtain a license to maintain law and order on our roads.

      Likewise the ET claims process is a test, a very severe test, much more severe than a driving test, exam whatever! As it stands mistakes in claims are unacceptable, over the years it has been made, shaped that way.

      Your example of the supermarket shelf stacker supports the argument that it not fit for purpose exactly.. When the Tribunals were set up it was the duty of the panel of a Judge and two laypersons, to support and help those from both sides and the less fortunate through the process, those days are gone what we have is a broken not fit for purpose system, that has been hijacked by the bullies be it the unions, lawyers or the bosses.

      You and the FRU keep the failed system functioning and boost the successful claimants figures. Making it harder and harder for the unrepresented, there is an example of Deborah on the corruption blog of a claimant who studied law and took 5 years to win her case, she should not have had to do this.

      If only 14% of claims make it to a hearing then the others should have been rejected or instructed to settle at the CMD as I was. It is as simple as that.

      I could go on and on and on and on as is evident from my over posting, the process has disturbed my very fair mind greatly. These are very political arguments, I was unexpectedly dragged into by a very dodgy employment contract that was not worth the paper it was written on. all I wanted to do was my job… uninterrupted by this Bu115**t.

      And breeeeath……

    • den

      I wish I read this an hour ago – just told my solicitor to settle – caved in as can’t seem to find anyone to look at my case without automatically defaulting to the assumption its best to do a deal! How do we control bad managers if so few cases don’t get to hearing. LEI’s don’t help either everyone has one goal and they all care about money and only money.

  7. L Park

    In the past I have assisted people to take cases against their employers. Most cases settled. My view is that employment law is heavily in favour of employers, e.g. when it comes to dismissing someone, employers are allowed a wide discretion. I would like the law to be more robust. Whether someone has been ‘fairly’ dismissed has very little to do with the common sense understanding of ‘fairness’. In addition to this I doubt whether most employment Judges have ever been employees. Bias can be subtle.

  8. Julian

    My own experiences with the employment tribunal have not been positive.
    I was a long serving police officer and a whistleblower.
    I am the only police officer in the UK to have ever been dismissed without a police disciplinary hearing.
    There was no challenge to my disclosures with regards to the facts, good faith etc.
    I was a litigant in person who was ill and found the tribunal unsympathetic and the Judge paid no attention to the Judges Equal Treatment Benchbook.
    They did not treat disclosure seriously and as a result the force was permitted to suppress relevant evidence.
    3 important policy files which contain sensitive information apparently went missing and the Judge simply commented that it was ‘Odd’ in his Judgment.
    Thje disclosure officer, a long standing HR officer, also apparently could not find a relevant file relating to a paedophilia and corruption case.
    Following the hearing I made a formal complaint and the file was easily found, much too late to be of any use at the Tribunal.
    The DCI from the Professional Standards Department and the HR officer both received the lowest form of disciplinary sanction being ‘management advice’.
    The management of the hearing was unfair in that the Judge allowed the Respondents to introduce additional witnesses whilst I attempted to introduce just one additional witness, former senior CID officer with compelling evidence that he had written 3 times to the Chief Constable informing him that I was going to be victimised by the Deputy Chief Constable for making disclosures at the time to the HMIC.
    The Respondent was to go first with their witnesses in the first week and my witnesses were going to be heard in the second week.
    Respondent’s Counsel was able to manipulate the hearing and with their additional witnesses went over into the second week where I was left with just a day and half for my witnesses to be heard.
    The majority were not heard and the Respondent did not challenge any of their witrness statements.
    Whilst the Judge stated that their evidence would be given full weight as if they were giving evidence in person, the Judgment contained little of their evidence.
    Whilst I accept that there will always be unavoidable situations, there was a weeks break after the 2 weeks hearing and we were to return for a final 3 days.
    During the one week break, the Judge had gone on a course with the Chief Constable who was the main witness against me in the case.
    I thought it was unethical but the EAT did not share the same view.
    The EAT displayed some of the same traits that I had complained of in the ET, ignoring medical evidence and the Equal Treament Bench book for Judges.
    I had been given conflicting advice by Judges, I had raised concerns at the ET because the Respondent was not producing relevant witnesses I wished to cross examine.
    The Judge who dealt with the preliminary hearings advised me to write to the Respondents with the details of the witnesses and the evidence they could give and if they were not produced I could mention this fact and the Tribunal could draw an inference.
    Whilst I raised this at the beginning of the hearing, the Judge did not correct me and left it until my closing submissions to say that he could not take this failure to produce witnesses into account.
    The Judge had also refused my earlier applications for witness orders.
    I used the Bar Pro Bono Unit to assist with the EAT however; I was dissapointed in that Counsel attempted to appeal on an obscure point which the Judge had difficulty in understanding and ignored the basic grounds of appeal which I had to raise.
    The saving grace of this case was that I had been given permission to record the hearing due to my disability and I think the Judge eventually forgot this was happening as I was using a livescribe pen and not a tape machine.
    At the EAT I was able to demonstrate that the Judge who dealt with the ET made a totally wrong comment in the Judgement which the EAT judge was happy to simply strike through.
    The audio recording gives a true picture of the hearing which differs significantly from the Judgment.
    At present I am seeking assistance to appeal to the CA out of time.
    If I am unable to seek justice, I will have no choice but to publish the transcript because the way the Judgment stands, it will act as a deterrant to other police officers exposing corruption and it is factually wrong in areas..
    The evidence in the case was overwhelming and whilst the Judgment criticised the force, the reason I apparently lost was because of the manner that I made the disclosures and not the disclosures themselves.
    The Tribunal took no account of the role of a police officer who unlike an employee is unable to ignore crime and corruption.
    The manner I made my disclosures was in the prescribed way through line managers, the PSD, the IPCC, HMIC and the Police Authority as I was entitled to.
    The ET Judge was a part time judge and a partner in a firm of solicitors moving in the same circles as the former Chief Constable at the time.
    It is very difficult in these circumstances to make a judgment as to whether there was an element of corruption or whether it was easier for the Judge to rule against me as a litigant in person who was ill or make recommendations as suggested by a senior officer in this case concerning corruption.
    Whilst I and a DCI made allegations of Misconduct in Public Office, there was not a single mention of this in the Judgment.
    In this particular case, I was not protected by the Public Interest Disclosure Act and the Tribunal took the easy option.

    • Roberta Shell

      I have just read your post and wanted to say (although my opinion will count for nothing) that I think you are very brave. No one who has not been faced with a tribunal hearing will know what mental anguish one has to go through as well as hoping that they will get justice. I am facing an unfair dismissal claim in April involving a well known charity, not for theft, assault or being drunk but using the works email system for personal use on 3 occasions. I may lose but at least I can say I gave it my best shot. Please don’t give up, stand by your own moral code and good luck.

  9. Naomi

    Douglas – there’s certainly an extent to which I agree with you. I do think ETs should be considerably more inquisitorial in approach than they are, especially when faced with unrepresented parties. But there are still limits to how much that can help – because effective cross-examination mostly takes a lot of preparation. The kind of cross-examination that shows one party’s story to be a pack of lies is normally the result of hours and hours spent before the hearing studying hundreds or thousands of pages of intrinsically dull material with an intense partisan focus. You can’t expect the judge to do that: they don’t have the time, and anyway – partisan is exactly what they shouldn’t be.

    The only way I can see of achieving anything approaching proper equality of arms is by establishing a National Legal Service whose services are free at point of delivery, generously enough funded that NLS lawyers can realistically be expected to do just as good a job as the privately-paid lawyers acting for employers. I don’t think we’re going to get one of those in a hurry, do you?

    So yes – we’re applying sticking plasters to a thoroughly imperfect system. I think that’s better than not applying plasters. And although I know there are plenty of individual cases in which the system delivers an unjust result, I think the same would be true of any imaginable system, however expensive – you could certainly make some changes that would improve the numbers a bit, but you’re always going to end up with a proportion of wrong outcomes. I don’t think that makes the whole system useless.

    I’ll read future comments, but I think I’m beginning to repeat myself so I will probably resist the temptation to respond further.

    • Douglas

      I believe the service received from our extremely well paid, independent, free thinking and honest judiciary bears no resemblance to a truth.

      After all we are all only human, with only one chance and a limited lifespan we all make mistakes.

      If Judges were paid the minimum wage things may be very different indeed.

  10. Billy Hollingshead

    You state that win/lose for cases that actually get to the tribunal is approximated down the middle for respondents and claimants. However, an important variable is missing from this assessment and that is representation. If half the claimants win with many of them unrepresented then just how many more of them would ‘win’ if all cases were actually represented?

  11. Mark Eaves

    Dear Naomi and Michael

    I’m someone who has posted a few comments on your ‘ Is the tribunal system…’ post. This is almost certainly my last comment, because I think I shall have said everything I can say or want to say.

    In my first posted comment, on 28 July last year, I mainly just wanted to say I knew for certain that the tribunal in my case was deliberately biased against me. The evidence was overwhelming, and there was an obvious motive for bias: the respondent ( Tribunals Service/ Ministry of Justice) was the very body that employs the ET and EAT judiciary.

    Since then, I have read some credible accounts from others, describing similar experiences to my own, in cases against other respondents. So I think there is something strange going on. I suspect there exists a minority- category of claimant cases which will never succeed in the employment tribunals, regardless. I do not know what characterises these cases, but, from my own experience and what I read, the following combination of factors appears to be ominous:[1] you were employed by a public- sector body; [2] you perceived that you were bullied in employment; and [3] you have a very strong case, supported by powerful documentary evidence.

    Thanks and congratulations to you both for running these posts. Thanks, because this is the only forum I know where people can share their bad- ET experiences, give their opinions and vent their feelings. This is valuable. I have chosen to make my own comments as matter-of-fact as I can, but privately I have experienced most of the worst feelings that people have expressed on these posts. And I will just tell you here that the effect on me of dealing with the employer and the tribunal has been devastating.

    Congratulations, because I believe most employment lawyers would be too cautious and indifferent to run such posts. In my first posted comment, on 28 July last year, I describe in detail how the tribunal dealt with a postponement request made by the respondent. At the time, I discussed this separately with two very experienced employment law practitioners. Believe it or not, I could not get either of them to tell me, even privately, that there was anything unusual about the tribunal’s behaviour.

    However, of course, …….nothing we say here will make the slightest difference to What They Do.

    • Jacqueline Evans

      1 I was employed by a public company (who now have public body responsibilities)
      2 I was bullied for 4 years
      3 I have very strong documented evidence

      4 I have complex PTSD made worse by the 6 years of litigation

  12. Jenny A

    I won my tribunal two years ago, but of course I cannot get a reference for new work, I doubt I will ever work again and I have read various cases where this has happened to other people.I must have applied for about two hundred jobs in this time but all want references.I am wondering if it was all worth it, aside from having a little extra money in the award, What I really want to do is settle back to work at a different company and forget any of this ever happened.

  13. Mark Eaves

    Dear Naomi & Michael

    Thought just occurs to me, apropos nothing in particular: why did you decide to post the questions ” Is the Tribunal System Corrupt?” and ” Do claimants ever win….?”. Because no one would ever ask the question ” Is the Pope a Roman Catholic?” . Or ” Was Hitler the 20th Century’s greatest Man of Peace?”.

    When you get five minutes or so, I’d be interested to know. But whether you choose to say anything or not, regards.

  14. ellen dacey

    hi to all the readers of this ‘blog’.

    i have just completed an 8 day ET re my summary dismissal for gross misconduct from the NHS – my experience as a litigant in person was that the Judge allowed me to put my case forward and question the 8 witnesses called for the Respondents (I had none but my union rep gave her version of the investigation, disciplinary & appeal hearing) – he was extremely helpful, sympathetic and supportive which is more than can be said of the managers et al during my 3 years of fighting the injustice imposed on me (aka witch hunt) from ALL those involved in my case.
    My family and friends who joined me as my ‘note takers’ have nothing but the utmost respect for the Judge PD who sat alone – I will blog the result in a few weeks.
    Regards

  15. Carol

    I won my case and it was so very hard its no wonder employees dont go there. Then my ex Employer appealed. Long drawn out scenario then I won again. I had a great solicitor Michael McDonough from Liverpool. He is based in London but if you need a Columbo style solicitor then he is your best bet. He didnt want to take my case on at first then said yes lets go for it. Im not being funny but its no wonder Employers generally win. Hard work but the truth always comes out so I say to anyone who has been treated unfairly. GO FOR IT. Good luck to all the people out there that have gone through what I did and I just hope that more people take their Employers to court

  16. Heath Fairbairn

    I went all of the way unrepresented, I used the fee remission and I also bought the et claims tactics and precedents book from amazon which I found invaluable, I did this whilst suffering clinical depression that my employer has caused, I did not know the merits of my case, I only knew that my employer had treated me so very very badly after ten years of honest, reliable and competent service.
    my claim was gender discrimination, disability discrimination and constructive dismissal breach of implied trust and confidence, the first two claims were unsuccessful, but I won my constructive dismissal claim, I have my remedy hearing on Tuesday 29th September but I feel it was a hollow victory because of the 80% polkey reduction, I requested the reasons and was amazed how far that they came down on my former employers side, if what they had done wrong was not in black and white and not in the minutes of one of their meetings, the tribunal would not have believed me, they made such a catastrophically adverse misinterpretation of the facts, it seems that they did not want to believe me, they seemed to make an excuse for the respondents bad behaviour and the judge seemed to consult with the respondents barrister in a pally manner, I tried to appeal but I had relapsed into depression, I am hope now to claim for the injury to my mental health I have all of the evidence I have found going through this so difficult, my 20year marriage broke up over this time and I have lost my home, my children have suffered too, my main thought has been that they must not get away with this, it has kept me going…

  17. Trina

    Entering Case Management as Claimant. Was a whistleblower – Respondent in denial of all 28 formal disclosures conducted as per Whistleblowing policy, also in denial of 43 detriments which followed including unfair dismissal for not looking for another job (honest) and withdrew Appeal against dismissal on grounds I would be summarily dismissed for gross misconduct instantly if I stayed employed. I think they want me to go! Now hit with more than 33 claims of deposit order, failed to get Interim Order because Judge in awe of case law presented. My government former employer has slapped 2 gagging orders on me and are taking me to court to stop other plebs complaining. All this before a Court even looks at my 400 pieces of evidence (and growing). No job in 3 weeks, no income at all and reputation absolutely smashed. I have to see it through or I’ll end up paying for a West End barrister and his chamber’s costs too. Oh and I am representing myself having paid over £1250 in court fees.

  18. Kelly hughes

    Hi i was wondering if anyone can help me I have just finished a two day tribunal and I was told the case needed further consideration they would have another meeting in a month and then I would finally get my outcome does this mean I have lost?

    Thanks

    Kelly

  19. Sally

    I have just won a constructive dismissal case….. so yes you can win. As a litigant in person I put in many hours of research, a lot of it went over my head but I persevered. I felt the judge was patient and fair with me but ultimately I could not see how I could possibly lose with the evidence in the bundle. I felt if I lost then it would be down to me not able to put the legal argument forward well. I learnt so much as the tribunal progressed. It has been a very very stressful long process but in the end it has all been worth it. The judgement had one point which I did not agree with and which I felt I put to the tribunal very well with good evidence to back me up, so I was quiet surprised the judge felt that the respondent had acted fairly on that point. This goes to show how close I was to having a different outcome….. very scary!

    I totally disagree with the tribunal fee. If family had not stepped forward and paid most of the £1200 (£250 & £950) fee I would not have been able to proceed. To have resigned and out of a job is stressful enough, to have no money coming in and having to pay these fees is just not fair. The claimant has all the odds stacked against them, I am not opposed to some fee but the amount is definitely a deterrence to someone trying to make a claim due to unlawful treatment.

  20. steve

    i went to court and won a case. the problem is it took 3 years (luckily didnt have to pay in those days) and even tho i was awarded £7200 the defendant has paid (since august 2014) a total of £1200 which would just about cover the new costs. the defendant is now refusing to pay the remaining owed and as a limited company (who owes others same sort of cash) could go bust and start again leaving us with nothing if i push too hard for cash owed….beware winning is no where near the end of your problems..

  21. ellen dacey

    Result of my ET – 10.9.15 = I was unfairly dismissed from my employment Cardiff and Vale University Hospital of Wales as a Registered Nurse – Now battling the evil £’s…..

    Good luck to all Litigant in Persons, you know your case better than anyone.

  22. Janet Frudd

    Having just had my et I have to say that I found the judge very fair.
    I “won on two points” withdrawn opposition ten minutes before the hearing. Another point was conceded at the beginning of the hearing, this was a completely spurious point thrown in just before the hearing as to whether i was salaried or time worker, I was always time worker but spent the whole of the night before the hearing sorting out questions and evidence in the bundle to support that fact.
    The respondent(employers )barrister was very good as was their solicitor who very cleverly drew my attention from the main points throughout. I lost the main decision on minimum wage, the only one in the end that they contested,BUT I will ask for a reconsideration and I will appeal, I have learned trust your instincts and don’t expect even basic honesty from the other side ,their legal team has one objective ,to win for their client, so if you think they’re up to no good say it loud and clear, use the system, make the applcations and keep fighting if you think you are right!!!!

  23. Sarah

    I’m just starting on the long hard road that I may or may not end up at an ET.

    Firstly, I would just like to say to anyone else who is like me & at the very beginning of the process, please don’t underestimate the value of legal advice right at the begining. Even before you’ve sent your ‘Appeal Notification’ into your employers.

    I sought legal advice as soon as I was dismissed & I’d also spoken to ACAS so even before I start I am aware of the long road ahead.
    My solicitor is very expensive, but she is also very direct, which I like, I’m not paying her to make me feel better or to give me false hope about my claim.
    She has already been invaluable when she had to speak to my ex employer when they were trying to be difficult in regards to time allowed to appeal.
    If I had not had her to ring, I could have very easily fallen at the first hurdle & folded under the pressure from a large company.
    Secondly she has also been very honest in regards as to what is the best use of her time & therefore although every hour is expensive, I don’t feel that it is being wasted.

    After our initial meeting I then fully understood the importance of the Appeal Notification, which is huge!
    This alone, as I understand it, if done badly has massive impact on what you can bring before an ET.
    I opted to prepare all the paperwork for my solicitor into date order & draught my own appeal.
    My solicitor has then reviewed it & if applicable make recommendations.
    The feedback I received was there was nothing to add & nothing to delete & it was well laid out, with the relevant detailed points cross referenced that supported each point I felt that the dismissal was unfair.
    Some points I had listed 20 cross referenced examples from the disciplinary processes. It may sound like a lot, but the more the merrier to support my claim.

    But it did take me a long time & I can already see that there will be times when this may become all consuming.

    My solicitor has also talked to me about early conciliation, which she is in favour of.
    Again very honest in regards to her fees & as she explained it I agree with her that there is no point turning down an offer of 5k at conciliation to then go to ET, where there is no guarrantee of winning, but even if you did win, lets say 8k only then to have to pay 5k out in legal fees.
    So in summary my advice to anyone in my situation is –
    1. Get legal advice early, this hopefully will stop you making any mistakes at the beginning that could end up costing you dearly later in the process.
    2. Do as much of the preparation of paperwork/appeals/correspondance that you feel you are capable to reduce the cost.
    My solicitor found the 2 page timeline I did very useful. As it was a very easy reference document that helped her understand the sequence of events without trawling through a mountain of papers.
    3. Read, read & read. I am a big advocate of knowledge is power. I have used in the main the following 3 sites the most & found them very informative.
    Citizen’s Advice
    ACAS
    gov.co.uk

    So wish me luck.
    I have no idea how this is all going to end.
    All I do know is sometimes you have to believe in yourself & if you truly feel that for whatever reason you shouldn’t have lost your job, then you owe it to yourself to do all you can to make them say they were wrong but be aware that at some point you may have to be very objective in regards to a financial settlement if offered & decide whether its an amount that you feel you can accept or do you want to have your day in court whilst risking losing & still having ET fee & any legal costs as well.

    • Lorraine

      Thank you for your comments. What do you mean by ‘Appeal Notification’? Is that your appeal against your dismissal using your former employers process or its it something connected to the tribunal process?
      Thanks
      Lorraine

  24. Kat

    I am not legally qualified but represented at court.
    Against a huge bunch of liars, fabricated evidence and abuse from the Barrister I win 97% of the case. The respondent waited till the 42nd day to appeal so we battle on even though the judge slated all witnesses and the conduct of the lawyers/barrister. I found our judge very fair during trial and I feel that she very much ensured a level playing field when I was struggling with technicalities. The respondent is crazy stupid and arrogant I’m disappointed but not surprised that they have appealed …. Oh well !!

    • Julie

      I’m in the process of dealing with ACAS for an early conciliation but I feel my employer will disagree to speak to ACAS so my next step will be the tribunal and after reading all these negative statements I’m really worried I’m going to throw away lots of money although I have great evidence to support my claim

  25. Botevyle

    I was bullied, harrassed vitimised and suffered a breakdown, no risks assesments or adjusments and discplined on return to work for my absence. I went on to have 2 further breakdowns and had work related stress anxiety and finally reactive depression. With the respondent finally accepting disability and knowledge of the same for the 3years before they suspended me and sacked me for having the 3rd breakdown and being suicidal I struggled to get to ET full merits hearing of 12 days but despite my disability (post traumatic stress disorder) I finally made it ! (7 years after my first breakdown/date of knowledge )
    All I can bring myself to say is the ET Judges disability discrimination caused me to suffer further in the ET. I felt suicidal again, the respondent didn’t deny any of the issues and confirmed most but ! The judge found I lacked credibility and dismissed my entire claims.

    I’m now stuck in an endless list of reviews, complaints and appeals with deadlines, legal requirement and COST(oh, and a disability) . I have ESA benefits and the support of a loving family.but one question remains…. what did I do wrong ?

    • Richard Stevens

      You did nothing wrong except be in a vulnerable position in the first place. Vulnerable people deserve fair play but, sadly, respondents and their lawyers take advantage of that vunerabilty.

  26. R Knowler Hampshire

    Reading all these posts fills me with dread.I am fighting the Police with their decision and my next step is the European Human Rights. Our system may or may not be corrupt only they know that. What it is is discriminatory. If you have a standard education and are on minimum wage then representing yourself is impossible. Despite ACAS and the ET stating that judges are used to people representing themselves these judges do not take it into consideration. Technicalities and Government directives are why the average citizen gives up or loses. Our Government likes to project a wealthy healthy western society but it is far from the truth. All the tools our grandparents fought for have been wiped out in a matter of 10 years. Our Government cherry picks Americanisms. We are more down trodden now than we have ever been because we are constantly being told we have never had it so good. I will fight my case but not just for me, it’s for the person that follows me. We have a right to a fair days pay for a fair days work.

  27. Sam

    Reading this has made this very close to my recent ET
    The judgment is in the majority wrong in facts and a completely different version to what actually happened in live evidence
    Some examples are : ️️no medical evidence – which is untrue ️as there is cmo, specialists reports, private specialist and gp reports all confirming that my work had exabirrated my mental health and that it was clear they ignored medical advise by their own Cmo
    Also another point the judge recorded that 4 periods of sickness that led to Upp were not diasability related which is untrue and even the respondants admitted in live evidence and is clear on factual evidence that 3 of the periods were disability related
    The judgement even commented on how it was my fault and I was childish – this is wrong as to say having panic attacks by those that bullied and victimised me which effected my mental health is wrong
    There is so much wrong with the judgment
    In the actual ET the judge was so clearly biased towards both me and my barrister
    The judge also gave the respondant ️extra time to cross examin myself however cut down my barristers time cross examining them by 2 1:2 days and this time was simply cut off and not used and the ET finished this amount of days earlier (also the ET was unavailable for one day so infact we lost 3 1:2 days)
    My barrister was unable to continue cross examining 3 vital witnesses because of this and was unable to do so on crucial complaints
    Also he prevented her from finishin her submissions and she requested 5 minutes to finish and he refused
    However he then turned to the respondant and asked if she had anything further
    Currently looking at appealing just can’t believe the injustice
    Even the CMO and my gp who ive seen post judgment are in their words flabbergasted !

  28. ellen dacey

    hi again …
    remedy – won case for unfair dismissal (procedure), but told i contributed to my own dismissal by 60% – contributory conduct!
    Complainant (new nurse SD) stated ‘not her allegations’.
    Manager stated she witnessed, but was not in work and stated ‘unaware of the allegations’.
    Respondent witness stated they were unaware/not told about allegations.
    Inconsistencies on findings of fact regarding contributory conduct –
    Reserved judgment – allegations
    Reconsideration hearing – Aston Team Performance Reviews (2009 & 2010) the allegations were 2011-2012!
    No Polkey reduction, but no re-engagement.
    No ACAS uplift, but dismissal was procedurally unfair.
    No recoup notice sent to DWP, but Respondents want to steal ALL my benefits from dismissal (Aug 2014) until 2016.

    ps I won my case (litigant) for unfair dismissal, but lost my 30 NHS career as a Registered Nurse, future salary and pension contributions, my health – Can someone explain to me WHERE THE HELL I WON! Case gone off to EAT

    • Peter Nicholson

      Ellen, I,ve not won anything yet.I too am a litigant in person, started with 4 years of bullying then Manchester Tribunal 2014,
      6 days no finding in my favour, of 23 allegations, including many disability discrimination, spent £1200 court fees. Spent another 10 months in EAT which dismissed the case. Ive been given a hearing at Court of appeal 5/2017, this may well be dismissed, then on to ECHR. Tell me Naomi why am i being punished?

  29. Louise

    Last week I was the claimant for constructive dismissal I am unsure of the outcome as yet due to a reserved judgement. My case was 3 days and the judge appeared very thorough and knew my case from the evidence he had read and the statements! I am 100 percent certain they can not win and if they do will be unjustified as they lied throughout and the witnesses weren’t witnesses to the actual horrific intimidation, bullying and harassment. I feel as the claimant in court I was treated fairly I personally feel it depends on the claim and it’s not corrupt but time will tell. If they win I won’t understand how they could. Everyone deserves a fair hearing I feel I got one!!

  30. John Airey

    I have seen some appalling behaviour by a respondent at tribunal – including offering me my job back for a joke and making false claims about my conduct. There was nothing that I did which any reasonable employer would consider misconduct. Who would discipline someone for turning up to work when they hadn’t been suspended in writing?

    Attempts at appeal have been dismissed out of hand. The EAT President accused me of lying without any evidence. The ET Judgement found that one of the respondents witnesses was not telling the truth. Only a surprise allegation of faking an accident (ie not mentioned in case management, ET3 or any witness statement) which had already been accepted in writing as a faint was used against me. The Court of Appeal Judge said “you’re not disabled, you should be pleased you’re not disabled”. There’s clearly a bad attitude towards disabled people.

    As for there being no corruption, how can you make that statement if Barristers who represent respondents can also sit as Employment Judges in case that may well involve the same respondent?

    It should be much easier to get a case reviewed than it is at present. I get the impression that they are never reviewed.

    Read more at

  31. Peter

    My partner has just lost a claim she made against her ex employer for constructive dismissal and changes to her contract after she was TUPE transferred. In the judges summing up, she dismissed the TUPE Regulations, Working Time Regulations and Article 8 of the Human Rights Act ‘the right to privacy and a family life’. The judge insisted on numerous occasions that article 8 covers slavery when it in fact slavery is Article 4. The judge also based her judgment by claiming that a letter of offer does not form part of the employment contract, when in fact at the top of my partners employment contract it states ‘The letter of offer forms part of the employment contract’. Once the judge had passed her judgment, she then spent the next hour chastising my partner (who is in her 50’s and well educated, ienot a child), in a loud voice and on the verge of losing her temper, all in front of my partners ex employer plus six members of their staff. Since the judgement, we have now found that the judges summing up is practically word for word identical to the respondents barristers summing up. The barristers summing up was emailed to my partner a hour before she was due in court to hear the verdict, but the email was pass word protected so couldn’t be opened. Its obvious that the barrister must have given the judge her summing up document the previous day so the judge could also use it as her summing up.

    Three questions please, 1) is it common for a judge to dismiss these laws in an employment tribunal, 2) is it normal or the judge to use the respondents summing up ‘speech’ as the judgement and quote it verbatim and 3) is this normal behaviour regarding chastising the plaintiff?

  32. JB

    All I can is this is hard work. Hearing beginning 2017. The research ans the stats are great and we can see the changes. My annoyance with having to be in this situation is the shock about the fees. It was like asking a Police Officer for help and being told it will cost you first. Come on this is outrageous and how can this be allowed. Surely it would be better to fine timewasters who just dont like their work.. it happens. Instead you have added anxiety and feel desperate as you are in a new set of timelines, insurance companies relinquishing on claims for Legal Fee, Bills piling up..then ACAS Conciliation, Lawyers, Et1, more deadlines..blah blah. Should the first judgement not be the fact that we do not put ourselves, our family and friends through this for the hell of it and at least hear us out before charging us. Our employers are fighting us for their reputation and will throw money at it.

    I am so grateful that I know how to research and basically have had a 4 month crash course and there are so many hurdles and challenges it becomes like a mental workout.

    Even Insurance Companies dont get the deadline importance of ET and the policy covers Legal Fees?? What chance do you have.

    Due to my now low income I am eligible for Legal Aid and this can cover full costs from ET to conclusion. It is called Advice and Assistance then it can be increased to representation. This should be available UK wide but is only in Scotland.

    Organisations should not be confident to treat staff in a manner that causes them to appear at an ET. This should be a top concern at all times and they ahould adhere to the abundance of advice online and keep reading different sites. They all say the same so why risk having to pay employees compensation because of lack of thought in thw first place.

    Oh I feel better now after this rant but exhausted and worry about people who do not have the will or the way to continue and withdraw their claim or give up.

    The challenge continues.

  33. Paul Smith

    Can a claimant be slandered or defamed by the respondent during a tribunal, or is all evidence given at the tribunal treated as privileged?

  34. Skyseeker

    In my case judge asked both parties advocates to go into a room and decide which parts of the amended ET1 they could agree on ! Needless to say respondents didn’t agree with any
    of it consequently a large part of my claim had to be withdrawn – how biased to the employer is that ? The judge just sat n twiddled his thumbs !!

  35. Skywatcher

    Hi, this is more a question than a comment, apologies if it’s not in the correct place-please redirect me if that’s the case .
    In my recent PH at the ET the judge directed both parties advocates to adjourn to a side room and discuss which parts of my amended ET1 they could agree on, needless to say a large part of it was disallowed by the respondents – is this normal practise in the ET? Thanks

  36. Jason McCreanney

    Wow, after reading this lot i too am filled with trepidation and now can not sleep again.
    ET is now booked for 5 days in July, just had my employer pass the case Over to their legal team, and it really does feel like the odds are not in my favour!
    However if trying to do the right thing causes the loss of employment and starts the dispute, that is the price we pay. Rather that the ignor our own moral compass!
    Surly the laws against forcing employees to comint illegal acts (receiving money by deception) needs to be protected in a fair and decent society. After whistleblowing to HR and finding that the contense and a copy of my email was sent directly to my boss and the instigator of the companies crime & wrong doing I was on a sticky wicket. So after 6 months of his constructive management of me did not have his desired effect, I had to endure suspension on trumped up charges that were later dismissed, then proceed through a sham of a redundancy scheme. I took it too appeal, who did not look at the evidence I realised that I needed to have my day in court, and perhaps this need to go through 3 types of legal processes, ET, Civil, and then criminal proceedings, to right this wrong.
    Maintaining this belief i hope will see me through, i respect our laws and the Judges who’s job it is to adjudicate in them.
    I am a littergant in person (representing myself) as financially I am very low on funds as it has already been 7 months since my last pay. However i did spend over £1K getting advice before i started which has given me the confidence to proceed. I can not afford the £6K I need to have this QC represent me ( But I have asked him to take in on Pro-Bono as I need to find the £950 to get it to the hearing first. I would like to say that if I could I would buy in legal council, as the reading and research is very consuming. However he has not responded.
    So lets see what happens when a David takes on a company with a £2 Billion investment in the Automotive Industry.
    If you are a Lawer who would like to help please find me!

  37. Richard Phillips

    If you win, it is easy to say that the system works. I won my case and think that although it is monumentally difficult, I can confirm that the system works and is not corrupt!

    After being represented initially – I became a litigant in person when legal costs became unaffordable. I won on unfair dismissal and a few other points – and also secured some costs, 25% acas uplift and court judgement that each of my employers witnesses lied under oath (my words, but there was no ambiguity..) The financial award was significant but would not justify the mind boggling effort and costs to my health – though ultimately the vindication and judgement was worthwhile.

    I found the system and panel to be scrupulously fair; I lost some important arguments where I knew I was in the right – but with hindsight I could see that I had not provided sufficient proof for the ‘system’ to find in my favour on those points. The thing that is so hard for none lawyers to grasp is that you must keep a laser focus on the *law* not on what you think or know to be *right*.

    I think my main piece of advice I would give is that even if you are going to represent yourself you *must* get an honest legal expert opinion on the merits of your case. Unless they say you have a *strong* case – walk away or aim only for an early settlement.

    Even if you are ultimately going to represent yourself, try and get some legal input at the start – getting the Grounds of Complaint right is incredibly important as you will remain somewhat shackled to any mistakes you make at that stage. Without advise it is quite likely you will make mistakes that will turn out to be fatal to your case. You might be able to find an employment solicitor who will agree to provide an ‘Assessment of Merit’ and then help draft the ‘Grounds of Complaint’ as an ‘unbundled’ service in which they do not actually represent you.

    Unless the case is a truly trivial matter, being a litigant in person is a massive undertaking that is likely to consume your life for possibly a couple of years. Is it *really* worth it?

    Secondly, and it is hard to word this delicately, you will be up against a team of lawyers that are experienced, hard working, knowledgeable and probably very smart. I struggle to see how anyone could navigate the complexities, paperwork and complicated arguments without academic skills equivalent to or exceeding degree level. I don’t mean that you need a degree (much less a degree in law), but you *will* need the skills of research, writing and analysis equivalent degree level education or higher.

    First stop buy Employment Tribunal claims by Cunningham and Reed – and read that and this entire blog front to back. If you don’t understand what you read, don’t be a litigant in person. If it looks like you will go to hearing, buy Tolleys employment handbook – use it as a reference manual as you move through the process and quote case law it provides where relevent.

    I do not believe the system is not corrupt. On the other hand it is massively unfair.

    It is massively imbalanced against people who cannot afford tens of thousands of pounds in legal fees or who cannot make a reasonable hack of being a self educated, un-paid solicitor AND barrister for perhaps a year or more.

    Let me also take this opportunity to thank Naomi and Michael for their terrific work..

  38. Janet Frudd

    Had appeal allowed due to BPBU barrister who argued the point of law very well.Have now to go to reconstituted tribunal and have whole case reheard, I dont think the system is corrupt but I do think it leans to the legally represented which are nearly always going to be the employers. Wouldn’t it be a better system if lawyers weren’.t allowed at the initial tribunals at all

  39. Philomena Britto

    I have submitted at ET1 against the HomeOffice for disability discrimination, bully, harrassment and victimisation. My union is supporting me in so far as attending meetings but have not had the time to get me legal representation at tribunal so I a, going it alone. I have received the employers ET3 and was shocked at the lies that I can dispute with written evidence. This is seriously daunting for me but I don’t see how else I will make my employer see the mental and physical anguish they have inflicted on me. I am also on a pilgrimage so I have to draft my response whilst away due to the timescales involved. I am afraid doing this myself but I will give it my best and hope for a judge that is fair. Wish me luch

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