If you are a respondent

Notice of the claim

When tribunal proceedings have been commenced against you, you will receive from the Secretary of the Tribunals a copy of the claim setting out the claimant’s case. You will also be informed in writing about how to present a response to the claim, the time limit for doing so and what may happen if a response is not entered within the time limit.

Responding to the claim

If you wish to respond to the claim(s) that you have received, you must present your response to the Office of the Tribunals within 28 days immediately after the date you were sent a copy of the claimant’s claim form. You can make your response online. When you respond online, receipt will be acknowledged electronically, there is no need to send a further copy in the post or by fax.

Your response cannot be accepted unless it meets certain conditions. For example, it cannot be accepted if you have not given us mandatory / required  information as indicated in the guidance notes and claim form.

A response to the Fair Employment Tribunal must provide details of: -

(a) each respondent’s full name and address;
(b) whether or not each respondent wishes to resist (defend) all or part of the claim; and
(c) if the respondent wishes to resist (defend) the claim, the details of the grounds of such resistance.

You are asked to read the guidance notes that accompany the response form to avoid having your response rejected. If your response does not contain the information required, it will be returned to you and the claim dealt with as if we had not received a response. You should keep a copy of your response form for your records. It is your responsibility to ensure that the Office of the Tribunals receives your response within the relevant time limit.

What can I do if I cannot meet the deadline for sending in my response?

If it is not possible for you to complete the response in time, you can ask the tribunal to extend the time limit. You must do this in writing and provide full reasons why you are asking for the extension, your request must be received by the Office of the Tribunals within the 28 day limit. An Employment Judge will then decide whether or not to grant an extension. Any change of address after you have returned your completed response should be notified promptly to the Office of the Tribunals.

What will happen if I do not send in my response in time or the tribunal does not accept it?

If your response is not received within the time limit of 28 days or it does not provide the information required, the tribunal will not accept your response and so you cannot resist (defend) the claim. In these circumstances an Employment Judge will consider issuing a default judgement. A default judgement allows an Employment Judge to make a decision about a claim without the need for a hearing. You will have a copy of any default judgement sent to you along with details of how to have the default judgement reviewed and the time limit for making an application for review to the Employment Judge. A default judgement will be entered in the Public Register of Decisions.

Taking no further part in proceedings

A respondent who has not presented a response to a claim or whose response has not been accepted shall not be entitled to take part in the proceedings except to –

(a) make an application under Rule 29 (review of default judgements) of the Fair Employment Tribunal (Rules of Procedure) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2005;
(b)  make an application under Rule 31 (preliminary consideration of application for review) in respect of rule 30 (3) (a), (b) or (e); of the Fair Employment Tribunal (Rules of Procedure) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2005
(c) be called as a witness by another person; or
(d) be sent a copy of  a document such as a default judgement; a decision or correction of orders, decisions, or reasons.


The Fair Employment Tribunal will determine if the claim against you is well founded, following a hearing at which you and the person making the claim may attend and speak.  You may present your case yourself, or you may nominate a person to represent you at any time i.e. from an employers’ organisation or a solicitor. You should name your representative on your response form and obtain their advice on the completion of that form.  Correspondence will thereafter be sent to your representative but you will be told the date and place of the hearing and you will get your own copy of the Tribunal’s decision.  Make sure that your representative keeps you informed of the progress of the case.