The statutory regulations governing Industrial tribunals and the Fair Employment Tribunal proceedings in Northern Ireland are The Industrial Tribunals and Fair Employment Tribunal (Constitution and Rules of Procedure) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020 (“the Rules”).
Industrial Tribunals are independent judicial bodies that hear and determine claims to do with employment matters. These include a range of claims relating to unfair dismissal, breach of contract, wages/other payments, as well as discrimination on the grounds of sex, race, disability, sexual orientation, age, part time working or equal pay. For a list of the main matters which an Industrial Tribunal can consider please refer to the jurisdictions list.
Since 27 January 2020, it is a requirement to undertake early conciliation through the Labour Relations Agency before presenting a claim to an Industrial or Fair Employment Tribunal.
You must first notify the Labour Relations Agency and discuss the option of Early Conciliation. Most potential claimants will not be able to proceed to tribunal without at least considering this option.
If early conciliation does not succeed in resolving your employment dispute, the LRA will provide you with a certificate which you will be required to reference in your claim form. If you do not provide this, your claim may be rejected.
For more information on the process please go to: www.lra.org.uk/early-conciliation
Jurisdiction of an Industrial Tribunal - Article 85 of the Fair Employment and Treatment (Northern Ireland) Order 1998
The jurisdiction of an industrial tribunal to hear and determine complaints is subject to Article 85 of the Fair Employment and Treatment (Northern Ireland) Order 1998.
Where a complaint has been made to the Fair Employment Tribunal of unlawful discrimination on the grounds of religious belief or political opinion and it appears that this complaint is one in respect of which:
- a complaint could be made to an industrial tribunal under any other statutory provision; or
- a complaint has been made to an industrial tribunal which has not been disposed of;
the President or Vice President may direct that these matters shall be heard by the Fair Employment Tribunal and not by an industrial tribunal. For these purposes the Fair Employment Tribunal has the jurisdiction and powers of an industrial tribunal. Before such a direction is made however, a notice will be sent to those concerned, giving them an opportunity to show cause why such a direction should not be made.
Industrial Tribunals sit mainly in Killymeal House but may sit at another location as directed by the President or Vice President.
Throughout the pandemic, in order to ensure the safety of the parties, our staff, and the Judiciary, in person hearings have been taking place in Adelaide House to accommodate appropriate social distancing measures.
Conferencing equipment has also been made available in Killymeal House to facilitate remote hearings and hybrid hearings.
From Monday 25th April 2022, all in person hearings will revert to Killymeal House.