Responding to a claim guidance for Employment Tribunal

Visit GOV.UK to find out about being taken to an employment tribunal by an employee.

Dealing with a claim can take a number of months. Currently the average time between submitting your claim to the tribunal and getting a final decision is 27 weeks. The length of time will depend on what the claim is about and the issues involved – if there are lots of issues, or they are complicated, the case may take longer.

If the employment tribunal upholds the claim, they will consider what award to make and will be based upon a number of considerations.

The average awards made at tribunal and the average length of time from receipt of claim at tribunal to the final judgment being sent to all parties for Employment Tribunal claims during the financial year 2012-13 were:

Jurisdiction Average award  (all claims[1]) Average time in weeks (all single claims)
Age discrimination
Disability discrimination
Race discrimination
Religious belief discrimination
Sex discrimination
Sexual orientation discrimination
Unfair dismissal

Source: ET and EAT Annual Statistics 2012-13

Solve the dispute without a hearing

From 6 April 2014 someone from Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) may offer to work with you and your employee to try to solve the problem.  This is known as conciliation. The service is free, confidential and Acas won’t take sides. Find out more about early conciliation with Acas.

Responding to a claim to an employment claim

If your are responding to a claim made online you can respond to the claim at:

If you have been notified of the details of the hearing please read leaflet T422 - responding to a claim to an Employment Tribunal

If you have not been notified of the details of the hearing please read leaflet T423- Responding to a Claim to an Employment Tribunal (Details of a Hearing to be Sent)

Your response cannot be accepted unless it meets certain conditions. 

It must be on a prescribed form and by law, you must tell us:

  • your full name and address;
  • whether you want to resist (defend) all or part of the claim. 

Acceptable responses

If the Tribunal accepts your response, a copy will be sent to the claimant.

In most cases, we will also send a copy to ACAS, the independent conciliation service, who will try to help you and the claimant reach an agreed settlement.

If a claimant is no longer employed, he or she may make a claim against an employer for breach of contract. In certain circumstances, this entitles you to make an employer’s contract claim. Any employer’s contract claim must be included in the response form sent to the Tribunal office.

Back to top

Unacceptable responses

If your response is not on the approved form, provided by HM Courts & Tribunals Service, does not contain the information shown above or is not received within the specified time limit, it will be returned and the claim dealt with as if we had not received a response.

Back to top

Not responding to a claim

If a response is not provided within the time limit or fails to supply the necessary information, it will not be accepted. In these circumstances, judgment may be issued. This allows an Employment Judge to give a decision about the claim without the claimant having to go to a hearing.

You can apply to the tribunal to ask it to reconsider this. You must apply in writing within 14 days of the date the judgment was sent by the tribunal office. (An Employment Judge may extend the time limit for reconsideration of the judgment but only if they think it is just and equitable to do so). You must say why you believe the judgment should be changed or withdrawn.

When the respondent is applying for a reconsideration of a judgment issued without a response being received, the application must include:

  • the respondent's response to the claim;
  • an application to extend the time limit for presenting the response; and
  • an explanation of why a response containing the necessary information or an application to extend the time limit for response was not provided within the time limit for responding.

The tribunal has the power to refuse to reconsider the judgment, confirm it, change it or withdraw it. An application for reconsideration does not change the time for making an appeal. You may appeal while waiting for the result of the application.

HM Courts & Tribunals Service


Get email alerts
Find a form
Find a court form