A model application

Litigants and new lawyers are often troubled by the vast number of different situations that arise in the process of litigation.

It is helpful to remember that, really, there are only a handful of different situations, just an infinite number of slight variations.

One of the most common is asking the tribunal to do or order something. This might be ordering a document be disclosed; a question answered; a hearing postponed or a witness ordered to attend. But all these situations follow a common pattern. What follows is a standard template for applying for almost anything.

No comment

Sometimes another party in a case will make an application about something in which you have no stake or interest.

This is most common in cases with many different parties. Often a disclosure debate between the first claimant and the second respondent will be irrelevant to the third claimant.

In this situation it is sensible, if you are copied into the correspondence, to let everyone know you have no comment to make.

Unless orders

One of the types of order that the tribunal can make is an ‘unless order’. This is an order in the form: “Unless you do that, this will happen”.

For example, the tribunal may order “Unless the Claimant discloses all the document on which he intends to rely by the 1st May, his claim will be struck out”.

Unless orders are usually made when a party has failed to comply with previous orders. They are a way of the tribunal saying “This is your last chance. Sort this out, or else.”

I don’t object!

Courtroom dramas are filled with beautiful people who, at the slightest provocation, leap to their feet to shout “I object”.

Of course, real life in the employment tribunals is not like this. But a lot of litigation is similar. One side will want to do something, or do it in a particular way, while the other side tries to stop them.

A lot of these arguments are important. Many are not. But people (and lawyers are some of the worse) often fall into the trap of objecting to everything the other side tries to do.

This is foolish for several reasons.