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Tribunal procedures and penalties

Updating author: Max Winthrop


  • Statutory employment protection rights are enforced in the employment tribunal. The courts have no jurisdiction to hear statutory claims. (See Tribunal jurisdiction)
  • Breach of contract claims may be brought in the tribunal or courts subject to certain qualifying conditions. (See Tribunal jurisdiction)
  • Tribunal procedure is governed by the Employment Tribunals (Constitution and Rules of Procedure) Regulations 2013 (SI 2013/1237). (See Rules of procedure)
  • At any stage of the proceedings the tribunal may make a case management order on its own initiative or on an application by one of the parties. The types of order that may be made under the tribunal's case management powers include an order for additional information, written answers, disclosure, inspection and the attendance of a witness. (See Case management)
  • With effect from 6 April 2016, there are rules limiting the postponement of tribunal hearings. (See Postponements)
  • Preliminary hearings replaced case management discussions and pre-hearing reviews with effect from 29 July 2013. At a preliminary hearing the tribunal may, among other things, consider whether or not a claim or response should be struck out in whole or in part and make a deposit order. (See Preliminary hearings)
  • The maximum amount of a costs order that may be made by an employment tribunal is £20,000. However, a costs order may exceed £20,000 where a sum is agreed between the parties or where the amount to be paid is determined by way of detailed assessment in the county court in accordance with the Civil Procedure Rules 1998, or (from 29 July 2013), by an employment judge applying the same principles as those applied in the county court. (See Costs)
  • With effect from 6 April 2014, an employment tribunal has the power to order an employer that has breached a worker's rights to pay a financial penalty of between £100 and £5,000 where the tribunal is of the opinion that the breach has one or more "aggravating features". (See Financial penalties for employers)
  • With effect from 6 April 2016, enforcement officers have the power to impose financial penalties on employers that fail to pay a financial award ordered by an employment tribunal or a settlement sum agreed following conciliation by Acas. (See Non-payment of employment tribunal awards - financial penalties)
  • In relation to employment tribunal complaints presented on or after 1 October 2014, where a tribunal finds that there has been an equal pay breach, it must (subject to certain exceptions) order the respondent to carry out an equal pay audit. (See Equal pay audits)

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