Notice of a claim against you
When tribunal proceedings have been commenced against you, you will receive 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 your claim, the time limit for doing so and what may happen if a response is not entered within the time limit.
You will be advised if any part of the claim has been rejected.
Please note there are alternative means of resolving the issues raised in the claim e.g. conciliation.
Responding to the claim
If you wish to respond to the claim(s) against you, you must present your response to the Office of the Tribunals within 28 days of the date that you were sent a copy of the claimant’s claim form. You can make your response online.
There are several ways of submitting a response:
- A hard copy response form can be obtained from OITFET; or
- You can download an electronic version of the response form here or
- You can make your response to the tribunal online
We would encourage you to submit your response online as it is a much quicker way of submitting your response directly to us. When you respond on-line, receipt will be acknowledged automatically.
If you submit your response to us on-line or electronically, you do not need to send a hard copy to us by post.
Your response cannot be accepted unless it meets certain conditions:
- You must use the prescribed form; and
- It must be presented within 28 days of the date that the copy of the claim form was sent to you;
A response may include the response of more than one respondent if you are responding to a single claim and either:
- All respondents resist the claim on the same grounds and details of those grounds are the same; or
- All respondents do not resist the claim.
A response form may include the response to more than one claim if the claims are based on the same set of facts and either:
- You resist all the claims on the same grounds and details of those grounds are the same; or
- You do not resist the claims.
In addition your response form must include the following information:
- Your full name and address; and
- An indication whether you wish to resist any part of the claim and, if you do wish to do so, the details of the grounds for such resistance.
Once a response has been accepted, a copy of the response will be sent to the claimant(s).
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 as set out in the “Responding to the claim” section, it will be returned to you with an explanation as to why the response has been rejected, what steps may be taken by you including the need (if appropriate) to apply for an extension of time and how to apply for a reconsideration of the rejection.
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.
Application for an extension of time
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 make a written application to do this, which must be copied to the claimant, and provide:
- The reasons why the extension is sought; and
- Be accompanied by a draft of the response which you wish to present or an explanation of why that is not possible (unless the time limit has not yet expired); and
- A request for a hearing, where necessary.
Your request must be received by the Office of the Tribunals within the 28 day limit.
The claimant may, within 7 days of receipt of your application, give reasons, in writing, explaining why they oppose the application for an extension of time.
An Employment Judge may determine the application without a hearing.
If the decision is to refuse an extension, any prior rejection of the response shall stand. If the decision is to allow an extension, any judgement previously issued will be set aside.
What happens next?
Where the time limit has expired, or a response has been rejected and no application for reconsideration is outstanding, or the respondent has stated that no part of the claim is contested, the claim shall proceed to early case management.
Taking no further part in proceedings
A respondent shall only be entitled to participate in any hearing to the extent permitted by the employment judge. You will be entitled to notice of any hearings and decisions of the tribunal.
You may present your case yourself, or you may nominate a person to represent you at any time e.g. 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.
Employer’s contract claims
If you are making an employer’s contract claim (or contractual counterclaim), this should be made as part of your response. Please note that a contract claim may be rejected on the same basis as a claimant’s claim.
When the response is sent to the other parties the claimant will be advised that a contract claim has been made and will also include information in respect of:
- Whether any part of the claim has been rejected;
- How to submit a response to the claim;
- The time limit for doing so; and
- What will happen if a response is not presented within that time limit.
What happens next – the process and procedures
A procedural guide is currently being developed.