What are preliminary hearings?

Preliminary hearings are tribunal hearings at which the tribunal can:

  • conduct a preliminary consideration of the claim with the parties and make a case management order;
  • determine any preliminary issue;
  • consider whether a claim or response, or any part of them, should be struck out;
  • make a deposit order; or
  • explore the possibility of settlement or alternative dispute resolution (including judicial mediation).

Preliminary hearings will usually be conducted by an employment judge sitting alone, but if a preliminary issue may be decided at the hearing, a party can request that the preliminary hearing is held before a full tribunal (ie an employment judge with two lay members) and the employment judge will decide whether or not to agree to the request.