Legislation overview

Legislation dealing with tribunal claims and compromise is listed under separate headings below.

Tribunal claims

The legislation relating to tribunal claims includes the following:

  • Employment Tribunals Act 1996
  • Employment Rights (Dispute Resolution) Act 1998)
  • The Employment Tribunals (Constitution and Rules of Procedure) Regulations 2001 (SI 2001/1171)
  • The Employment Tribunals (Constitution and Rules of Procedure) Regulations 2004 (SI 2004/1861)
  • Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007
  • The Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 (Commencement No. 1) Order 2007 (SI 2007/2709)
  • Employment Act 2008
  • The Employment Tribunals (Constitution and Rules of Procedure) (Amendment) Regulations 2008 (SI 2008/ 3240)
  • The Employment Tribunals Act 1996 (Tribunal Composition) Order 2009 (SI 2009/789
  • The Unfair Dismissal and Statement of Reasons for Dismissal (Variation of Qualifying Period) Order 2012 (SI 2012/989)
  • The Employment Tribunals Act 1996 (Tribunal Composition) Order 2012 (SI 2012/988)
  • The Employment Tribunals (Constitution and Rules of Procedure) (Amendment) Regulations 2012 (SI 2012/468)
  • The Employment Tribunals (Constitution and Rules of Procedure) Regulations 2013 (SI 2013/1237)
  • The Employment Appeal Tribunal (Amendment) Rules 2013 SI (2013/1693)
  • The Employment Tribunals and Employment Appeal Tribunal Fees Order 2013 (SI 2013/1893)
  • The Employment Tribunals (Early Conciliation: Exemptions and Rules of Procedure) Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/254)
  • The Employment Tribunals (Constitution and Rules of Procedure) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/271)
  • The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 (Commencement No. 5 Transitional Provisions and Savings) Order 2014 (SI 2014/253)
  • The Employment Tribunals (Early Conciliation: Exemptions and Rules of Procedure) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/847).

Non-prescriptive guidance from the Presidents of the Employment Tribunals in England and Wales and Scotland is sometimes made available and practice directions are also issued by the courts and tribunal system from time to time. These support the relevant rules and set out procedures to tell parties what the courts and tribunals expect of them and what the parties can expect of the courts and tribunals. For example the President of the Employment Tribunals issued guidance on general case management in March 2014. This deals with particular case management matters, even covering such points as the definition of disability. The guidance is not binding on the parties, but tribunals do have to have regard to it.

The area of tribunal claims is inextricably linked with the procedures which employers and employees should follow before disputes reach the tribunal. For information on this see our Discipline and grievance procedures Q&As for further details.

Information on dispute resolution procedures in Northern Ireland is available on the nibusinessinfo.co.uk website.

Information on taking a case to the tribunal in Northern Ireland is available on the Office of the Tribunals and Fair Employment Tribunal website.

Compromise and settlement

The important rules currently governing settlement agreements (known as compromise agreements in Great Britain until 29 July 2013) are generally contained in the Employment Rights Act 1996, especially Section 203.

However, other legislation is also relevant. For example, numerous pieces of legislation all mention the inability to contract out of the relevant employment rights unless by way of a formal agreement. Examples of legislation governing these agreements include the following:

  • Employment Rights Act 1996, Sections 203(2)(f) and 219(4)
  • Equality Act 2010
  • The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 1981 (SI 1981/1794), Regulation 12
  • Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992, Section 288
  • National Minimum Wage Act 1998, Section 49
  • The Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000 (SI 2000/1551), Regulation 9
  • The Fixed-term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002 (SI 2002/2034) Regulation 10
  • The Working Time Regulations 1998 (SI 1998/1833), Regulation 35
  • The Transnational Information and Consultation of Employees Regulations 1999 (SI 1999/3323)
  • The Equality Act 2010 (Amendment) Order (SI 2012/334)
  • The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013
  • The Employment Code of Practice (Settlement Agreements) Order 2013 (SI 2013/1665).

Q: What should an employer do when they receive a claim form (ET1) from an employee or ex-employee who is presenting a claim in the employment tribunal?

Q: What happens after the response form (ET3) has been filed in the employment tribunal or if it is late?

Q: What should the employer put in the response form (ET3) before submitting it to the employment tribunal?

Q: Can the employer or employee amend their claim or response form after it has been submitted to an employment tribunal?

Q: How does the employer check if the employee's claim in the employment tribunal is in time?

Q: In what circumstances do employees have extra time to present claims in the employment tribunal?

Q: What are the different ways of funding legal costs in the employment tribunal?

Q: Can an employer claim back their legal costs in employment tribunal proceedings?

Q: What types of remedies and compensation are available in the employment tribunal?

Q: How is discrimination compensation calculated and can employment tribunals make large awards?

Q: What is the role of an Acas representative in employment tribunal proceedings?

Q: What is Acas early conciliation?

Q: What is the initial sift stage in Tribunal proceedings and what does an employer need to do between this stage and the hearing in the employment tribunal?

Q: Can an employer conduct the proceedings in the employment tribunal without using a lawyer and what is the procedure?

Q: How can an employer stop an employee proceeding with a weak or vexatious claim?

Q: What forms of mediation and conciliation are available to employers to help prevent employment tribunal proceedings?

Q: Can an employer or employee use evidence obtained by a secret recording device in employment tribunal procedures?

Q: What should an employer do if they do not wish to answer an employee's questions in a discrimination and/or equal pay claim?

Q: Can an employee sue both an employer and a manager together in the employment tribunal and how does vicarious liability work?

Q: What is a compromise or settlement agreement?

Q: What does the law say about the negotiations leading to termination of employment or settlement agreements?

Q: What should employers know about the Acas Code of practice on settlement agreements?

Q: Should an employer include warranties in a compromise or settlement agreement?

Q: Why should an employer offer to pay for their ex-employee to have legal advice from a relevant independent adviser before entering into a compromise or settlement agreement?

Q: Is it safe to start discussing terms of settlement on a 'without prejudice' basis with an employee when a disciplinary or grievance hearing is on going?

Q: What are the fees and costs which can be payable in the employment tribunal?

Q: What are the fines and penalties which can be payable in the employment tribunal?

Q: Are termination payments taxable?

Q: Are there any future developments expected in the area of employment tribunal claims, settlement and compromise agreements?

Top