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Educate yourself on the law and procedure relating to an unfair dismissal claim

Either contact a qualified legal adviser or get hold of the resources that will allow you to sufficiently educate yourself to get you through your unfair dismissal claim. Tamara Lewis’ “Employment law: an adviser’s handbook” is highly recommended, as is Naomi Cunningham & Michael Reed’s “Employment Tribunal Claims: Tactics and Precedents” (obviously the latest editions in both cases). Buy the books through this website, they retain a bit more of the money for each copy (and they’re worth it).

For more in-depth points (although it’s debatable whether you should be handling your claim yourself if you have to delve more deeply into specific legal issues!) get hold of a copy of Selwyn’s “Law of Employment” textbook. It’s excellent.

P.S. there are more web-based resources (such as Naomi Cunningham & Michael Reed’s invaluable www.etclaims.co.uk and Naomi Lewis’ excellent series of publications on discrimination questionnaires at the Central London Law Centre).

Don’t miss the limitation date for your unfair dismissal claim

Absolutely. Critical. If you don’t get your ET1 to the Employment Tribunal before your limitation date then you’ll experience serious difficulties in pursuing your claim at all (you’ll have to demonstrate a good reason as to why it wasn’t reasonably practical for you to hand in your claim before). If you can’t fill in your claim form with sufficient detail prior to the limitation date just get a copy in and apply to the Employment Tribunal for permission to amend the claim after the acknowledgment’s been received. A “prototype” claim is better than no claim. Plus it avoids all the hassle of potentially having to go through a Pre Hearing Review.

N.B. The limitation period for an unfair dismissal claim is three months less one day from the date of the termination of your contract of employment.

 Fill out your ET1 claim form with as much detail as possible

Don’t underestimate this one. If you fail to fill out your ET1 form properly then it will not be accepted and will be sent back to you by the Employment Tribunal. If you handed your ET1 in on or close to the limitation date this will cause you severe problems as you may fall outside of the limitation period before you’re informed that your ET1 wasn’t accepted. Further, it’s a well-known secret that Employment Judges have very little time to read the papers before an interlocutory or full (merits or remedy) hearing. They may even only have time to read the ET1. Putting the factual and legal details of your claim down in a succinct form in your ET1 (or Particulars of Claim if you prefer) can really help the Judge to understand the factual and legal issues you’re pleading. And if you’re helping the Judge you’re certainly helping yourself.

Keep the legal issues simple – don’t throw in anything you can possibly think of

It may appear at first that there’s a slight contradiction with point 3 here. However, don’t panic – there isn’t. You want to get all the relevant facts down in your ET1, not just any old facts you can think of. The Judge isn’t interested in whether Bob had a burger for lunch the day you were dismissed, he’s interested in the facts relevant to your dismissal. Further, don’t plead every single legal issue that you can possibly think of. This will not help you. If there are no credible issues that fall under the Working Time Regulations, don’t just throw it in because it makes your claim look more substantial. Keep the legal issues to the points that are relevant and winnable!

Try and get your Schedule of Loss right

If you’re pursuing your unfair dismissal claim yourself then it’s forgivable if you make some mistakes on your Schedule of Loss. It can be complicated, especially when you get to areas such as the contractual benefits of company cars, bonuses and commissions.

Get your calculations for your basic award right. This is done with reference to a simple formula which takes into account your gross weekly salary (max £430 at the moment), your age, and how many years service you’ve had with your employer.

Regarding your compensatory award, this is slightly more complex. Calculate your losses up to the date of the Tribunal hearing (accounting for mitigation if you’ve found a new job) and include future losses past the date of the Tribunal for a period of between three months and one year, depending on the circumstances.

Make sure that you include all relevant documents in your disclosure – it may not be possible to later!

As in point 4 above, don’t just chuck in any old document – make sure that the documents that you’re including in your list of disclosure are relevant to the case. Further, try and take out duplicate documents. Irrelevant and duplicate documents not only confuse both yourself and the Respondent (“am I referring to the exhibit at page 52 or page 400?!”) but will (note, will) annoy the Employment Judge at any hearing. Getting the Employment Judge on your side (or not not getting the Employment Judge on your side) is at least some of the battle.

Try and get as many witnesses to give evidence in your favour at the Employment Tribunal as possible

Simple equation: more witnesses in your favour = greater chance of winning your Employment Tribunal claim. However, ensure that the evidence that your witnesses (and yourself, you’re going to be a witness) give is true. Any decent counsel will exploit inconsistencies or deceit and this can undermine your whole case. If you go in and tell the truth then the Employment Tribunal is bound to empathise with you – they’re human after all.

If possible try and construct the hearing bundle yourself. Familiarity with this can give you an advantage at the Employment Tribunal hearing

This is something that I picked up from Cunningham & Reed’s Employment Tribunal Practice and Procedure and it really works. Constructing the bundle for the Employment Tribunal hearing gives you two advantages: you are familiar with it (it’s your baby) and this familiarity will give you added confidence. However, constructing your bundle is only recommended if you have the necessary time and access to resources. Constructing a shoddy bundle because you don’t have the access to a printer that will allow you to print off 1,000 pages or because you just don’t have enough time will annoy the Employment Tribunal and may end up making you liable for costs if it means a hearing has to be abandoned.

Respond promptly to any correspondence from the Respondent or the Employment Tribunal – it can easily slip from your memory otherwise

This has two advantages: firstly, it will help you to get to your Employment Tribunal hearing quicker and will potentially sort out any outstanding legal issues before the date of the hearing. Secondly, it will give you a psychological advantage – you’ll feel on top of the case. The worst thing to do is hide from important correspondence because you feel you haven’t done your case justice.

Instruct a specialist employment law solicitor!

This may seem like the inevitable plug but specialist employment law solicitors are, well, specialists in the employment law and Employment Tribunal procedure. They can (and often do) really boost your chances of being successful in your unfair dismissal claim in the Employment Tribunal. If you’re worried about costs many firms offer their services in the Employment Tribunal on a no win no fee basis (but of course that depends on the strength and value of your claim).

Anyway, good luck with your unfair dismissal claim and do yourself justice!

About Chris Hadrill

Chris is a specialist employment lawyer at Redmans. He specialises in contentious and non-contentious employment matters, including breach of contract claims, compromise agreements and Employment Tribunal cases. He writes on employment law matters on a variety of websites, including Direct 2 Lawyers, Lawontheweb.co.uk, LegalVoice, the Justice Gap and his own blog. Contact Chris by emailing him at chadrill@redmans.co.uk

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Testimonials

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Brittany

I was very grateful for Redmans to treat my case with respect and discretion. At the time, I was very new to London and it was meaningful to have someone on my side and win the case for me. Without any doubt, I would definitely recommend Redmans Solicitors to anyone who is in need of it.

Posted 2 months ago

Jake L

Chris is very professional and calm. Very attentive and patient, been a positive experience having Chris represent me, and would recommend him.

Posted 3 months ago

Anonymous

Excellent service. It was a pleasure to work with Chris H, who is brilliant at what he does and very efficient. Their Senior Associate Rana T. is also very knowledgeable and resolves any queries speedily and efficiently. My issue could unfortunately not be resolved, but that was due to my employer and not the firm. Redmans however did all they could. I would definitely recommend them.

Posted 3 months ago

Anonymous

Very pleasant and quick to deal with. Mnay thanks.

Posted 3 months ago

Anonymous

Easy to get hold of. Quick.

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Owen J

Very helpful, efficient service.

Posted 3 months ago

Anonymous

I am very lucky that I worked with Mr. Chris Hadrill and he managed my case very progressively with an analytical approach and trustfully. Of course with a very positive result. I strongly recommend Mr. Hadrill to any one seeking for a successful result from a highly qualified solicitor.

Posted 4 months ago

Kulbir S

Amazing, quick friendly service from Chris from the start and Caroline. They made me feel at ease during a difficult time, they understood and advised accordingly and I am really happy with the outcome of my case. Will always advise anyone who needs legal advice to contact Redmans, I’m so glad that I did and can confidently say I don’t think any other firm could have handled my case any better. Well done guys, wish you all the best and please keep doing what your doing, simply the best!

Posted 4 months ago

Mark A

Excellent service - rapid and “to the point” advice given to ensure meeting the target time frame

Posted 4 months ago

Anonymous

Chris Hadrill kept me sane during the negotiations with my employer. He was courteous professional and he cared about doing the best he could for me. I will use Redmans again if ever I need an employment solicitor. Excellent service.

Posted 4 months ago

Muhammad Z

Awesome services. Professionals at their best .

Posted 4 months ago

Anonymous

Thanks for the advice and for negotiating a good outcome. Good to have the support at a very stressful time

Posted 4 months ago

Chloe F

My solicitor at Redmans was very helpful and efficient. Really pleased with the smooth service.

Posted 4 months ago

Anonymous

Chris was absolutely excellent. Clear and concise, offering sound advice.

Posted 4 months ago

Tim O

Experienced and competent advisors

Posted 4 months ago

Rachel A

Quick and expert assistance. I would highly recommend Chris for any of your legal needs.

Posted 4 months ago

Joe S

I was very happy with the service provided by Chris and the team at Redmans Solicitors. I felt very comfortable discussing all matters with Chris and am very grateful for all the help and guidance I was given throughout the whole process. I would definitely recommend Redmans Solicitors to friends and family!

Posted 4 months ago

Anonymous

I had a very good experience working with Chris Hadrill during a difficult and emotional time. This held true from the moment I spoke to him on the phone, to the end of the process. Overall, he was attentive, professional and highly supportive. He provided sound advice and clarity. It was the reviews that led me to Redmans! I was very happy to know they were all true. I highly recommend working with Redmans Solicitors. Thank-you to the entire team!

Posted 4 months ago

Anonymous

Good service

Posted 4 months ago

Anonymous

Excellent professional service. Highly recommend.

Posted 4 months ago

Rob O

Very prompt response and I could not fault the service. My solicitor listened carefully to the details of my case and I felt very confident in the advice I was offered. All emails and work done on my behalf with my former employer was of the highest standard and Redmans helped take a lot of the stress out of the situation for me.

Posted 5 months ago