37 documents you may encounter during your Employment Tribunal claim (and what they mean)
When you’re running your own Employment Tribunal case, you might feel like documents are coming at you from all angles, especially when they have obscure names like “ET3”, “Schedule of Loss”, and “Hearing Bundle”.
Don’t worry, you can stay in control - even if you don’t have a lawyer - by arming yourself with information about what’s coming next. Here are 37 documents you might encounter during your Employment Tribunal journey and when they might come up.
1. Grievance letter
A grievance letter is a complaint that you make to your employer under the employer's grievance procedure. This is often the first step taken by employees who are having a tough time at work.
To find out more about grievances, read our articles on how to raise a grievance, your employer’s obligations when you have a grievance, and what you can ask for when you raise a grievance.
2. Grievance appeal letter
A grievance appeal letter is what you send to your employer if you are unhappy with the result of your grievance. Your employer should allow you to appeal - check their grievance procedure to see if there are any time limits on this. If they don’t have a grievance procedure, they should at least follow the ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures.
3. Resignation letter
This may not seem like an obvious one to include on the list, but particularly if you’re making a claim for constructive dismissal, then you should think about your resignation letter as an important document in your case.
If you’re arguing that due to your employer’s behaviour, you had no choice but to resign from your employment, then your resignation letter should say why you are resigning and should explain any delay in resigning.
The ET1 is the legal form that you complete and submit to the Tribunal to start your claim. Section 8.2 is the most time-consuming part of the form to fill in - you may want to attach a separate document to do this (called the Particulars of Claim in England and Wales and the Paper Apart in Scotland).
5. Particulars of Claim
The Particulars of Claim is a document which you attach to your ET1 form, to give more detail about the claim, in England and Wales. This is where you give the background facts, and set out what legal claims you are making and why.
6. Paper Apart
In Scotland, the Paper Apart is the document that you attach to your ET1 form, to give more detail about the claim. This is where you give the background facts, and set out what legal claims you are making and why.
7. Case Management Agenda
If you’re invited to a Case Management Preliminary Hearing, the Tribunal will probably send you an Agenda for Case Management. If they do not send you one along with the Notice of Preliminary Hearing, then you should request a copy from the Tribunal.
There are examples of Agendas for Case Management online - for example, see here for England and Wales and here for Scotland - but be sure to use the one the Tribunal sends you in case it is different.
Both parties will receive the Agenda to be completed, and you should try to agree the Agenda with the Respondent (usually your employer)/their representative if you can.
8. Proposed Case Management Orders
It’s up to the Judge what Case Management Orders to make and what the deadlines for those will be. However, if you have been able to agree Case Management Orders with the Respondent, they will be likely to follow your lead.
It’s helpful to try to agree proposed Case Management Orders with the Respondent prior to the Case Management Preliminary Hearing, along with the Agenda for Case Management, and then send this to the Tribunal as an enclosure to the Agenda.
9. List of Issues
Another thing that is helpful to try to do prior to the Case Management Preliminary Hearing is to complete a draft List of Issues.
A List of Issues is a document that sets out all of the legal points that the Tribunal needs to decide in the case.
If possible, this should be agreed with the Respondent along with the Agenda for Case Management, and then sent to the Tribunal as an enclosure to the Agenda.
10. Witness statement
A witness statement is a document, usually signed, from someone who has witnessed events, setting out their evidence in their own words. You may draft your own witness statement for your Employment Tribunal case, which will set out what happened and might refer to other documents that form part of the evidence (such as emails that you sent or received at the time of the incident(s)). Witness statements may also be used in grievance or disciplinary investigations.
A chronology is a document setting out a brief description of each of the events that are relevant to the case, in chronological order. The Tribunal may ask you to submit a chronology. Usually they will ask you and the other side to agree the wording if possible. The Tribunal will normally ask you to submit this just before the Final Hearing.
Even if the Tribunal don’t ask you to submit a chronology, it’s still really useful to have a timeline of all of the key events for your own use (and to share with any advisors or friends who are helping out).
12. Statement of agreed facts
A statement of agreed facts is quite similar to a chronology - it is almost a more detailed version of a chronology. The difference tends to be that a chronology just lists the key events in date order, with a very brief (usually one-line) description of each event. A statement of agreed facts, on the other hand, will look more like your ET1, with numbered paragraphs going into more detail on all of the relevant background and facts that have been agreed.
The Tribunal may ask you and the Respondent to prepare a statement of agreed facts. It will save time for the Tribunal, as they can then easily see all of the key facts in one place (to the extent that these facts are not in dispute).
13. Data subject access request letter (DSAR)
You will probably have heard of GDPR, the law that controls how your data can be dealt with by organisations that have access to it.
A key aspect of the GDPR is the right to request copies of your own personal data - often called a “Data subject access request” (DSAR) or just a “Subject access request” (SAR).
You can do this by making a request to your employer, either verbally or in writing - it’s much clearer to do this in writing though, by writing a letter specifying exactly what information you are requesting.
14. Application for Preliminary Hearing
Either you or the Respondent can make this application to the Employment Tribunal, asking that the Tribunal list a Preliminary Hearing. For example, a Substantive Preliminary Hearing might be needed where there’s an important issue that needs to be sorted out before the claim can progress any further.
The Respondent might make an application for a Preliminary Hearing, for example, if they thought that any of your claims were out of time.
15. Application for postponement/adjournment
Either you or the Respondent can make this application to the Employment Tribunal, asking that the Tribunal either postpone or adjourn a hearing. A postponement could be granted if a hearing hasn’t started yet, to move it to a later date. An adjournment could be granted if the hearing has already started, to pause it and continue it at a later date.
For example, you might need to apply to postpone or adjourn a hearing because you’re unwell, or because your witnesses or solicitor is unavailable.
16. Application to amend claim/response
Either you or the Respondent can make this application to the Employment Tribunal, asking that the Tribunal make an amendment to the claim (if you are making the application) or to the response (if the Respondent is making the application).
You might want to amend your claim because you need to correct an administrative error, or because you want to amend the legal claims which you are making. If you do want to amend your claim, be aware that this will only be allowed in certain circumstances.
Make sure you apply to amend your claim as soon as possible, as any delay could reduce your chances of the Judge agreeing to allow the amendment.
17. Application for strike out
Either you or the Respondent can make this application to the Employment Tribunal, asking that the Tribunal “strike out” the other side’s response/claim or part of it.
A “strike out” is when the Tribunal dismisses either your claim or the Respondent’s response before it gets to a Final Hearing.
Strike out can only be ordered in very limited circumstances, such as where the claim or response has no reasonable prospect of success, or where you or the Respondent has not complied with the Tribunal’s instructions.
The Judge may consider the application in writing or they may do this at a Preliminary Hearing. The party against which the application is made should have the chance to set out their objections before the Judge makes a decision.
18. Application for deposit order
Either you or the Respondent can make this application to the Employment Tribunal, asking that the Tribunal make an order for the other side to be required to pay a deposit so as to be allowed to advance certain arguments or allegations.
£1,000 is the maximum amount payable. It can only be ordered where the allegation or argument in question has little reasonable prospect of success.
The application for a deposit order can go hand-in-hand with an application for a strike out. For example, you might see an application for a strike out, with a deposit order in the alternative.
19. Application for unless order
Either you or the Respondent can make this application to the Employment Tribunal, asking that the Tribunal make an order for the claim or response to be dismissed, or partially dismissed.
An “unless order” can be made where a party fails to comply with a Case Management Order. It’s as simple as saying that unless the party complies, they won’t be able to progress - a bit like giving them one last chance.
The application for an unless order can go hand-in-hand with an application for a strike out. For example, you might see an application for a strike out, with an unless order in the alternative.
20. Application for hearing to take place in a different format
Either you or the Respondent can make this application to the Employment Tribunal, asking that the Tribunal make an order for the hearing to take place in a different format.
The Employment Tribunal’s Road Map for 2021-2022, for England & Wales and Scotland, indicates that the approach going forward will be for some cases to be remote and some in person (and some hybrid, where one or more of the participants joins remotely).
There are default formats for each type of hearing, however, the Road Map states that “it will always be possible for a party to write to the Employment Tribunal office handling their case to explain why they would like the hearing to be held using a different format.”
21. Application for extension of time
Either you or the Respondent can make this application to the Employment Tribunal, asking that the Tribunal give you more time to comply with a Case Management Order.
You might find that the Respondent makes an application for an extension, for example, where there is a high volume of relevant documentation that they need to review before drafting and submitting their ET1.
22. Application for Rule 21 judgment
Rule 21 of the Employment Tribunal Rules means that, if a Respondent does not present a valid response, then the Tribunal can either issue a judgment on the basis of the documents, or alternatively can fix a hearing.
There is no requirement for the Claimant to make any kind of application to the Tribunal to request this, because it is something that the Tribunal should do of its own accord. However, given the backlogs being experienced by some Tribunals, it may be useful to phone the Tribunal to check the status of the response. If necessary, you can then write to the Tribunal to apply for a Rule 21 judgment.
23. Costs application letter
A letter that either you or the Respondent can send to the Tribunal to apply for costs.
“Costs” means the money/time you or your advisor has spent working on your case. An application for costs can allow you to recover things like legal fees or preparation time.
Having said that, the making of costs orders in Employment Tribunals is the exception rather than the rule. Generally speaking, each party just pays for their own costs.
As noted below under ‘Costs warning letter’, you should ideally send a costs warning letter to the Respondent/their representative before you make an application to the Tribunal.
An application for costs may be made at any stage up to 28 days after the date on which the final judgment was sent to the parties.
24. Costs warning letter
A letter which you can send to the Respondent to warn them that you may apply for costs. (see ‘Costs application letter’ above). Equally, the Respondent can send a costs warning letter to you.
The key reason for writing a costs warning letter before the costs application letter is that the Tribunal will be likely to look more favourably on your application if you have sent a warning to the Respondent in advance.
Be prepared for the possibility that the Respondent will send you a costs warning letter as a way of trying to intimidate you. Remember that it’s quite unusual for the Tribunal to award costs, and as long as you aren’t being lax or unreasonable in how you are running your case, it’s unlikely that the Employment Tribunal will agree to make a costs order against you.
25. Cast list
A cast list is literally a list of all of the main “actors” involved in the case, with their full names and job titles.
The Tribunal may ask you to submit a cast list (usually they will ask you to agree it with the Respondent). The Tribunal will normally ask you to submit this just before the Final Hearing.
However, even if the Tribunal don’t ask you to do this, it’s still useful to do. It will be helpful for the Judge, and anyone else helping you or advising you on your case. They will be able to see at a glance all of the key individuals involved in the events leading to you making your Employment Tribunal claim.
26. Withdrawal letter
A letter that you write to the Tribunal if you want to withdraw your case, or part of your case.
You may decide to withdraw your claim if, for example, you have taken advice which suggests that you would be unlikely to win your case, or if your employer has asked you to withdraw your claim, or part of it, as part of a settlement agreement.
27. Request for specific disclosure
If you want to write to the Employment Tribunal to ask them to order the Respondent to send specific documents to you, you can apply to the Tribunal to ask them to order that the Respondent does so. Equally, the Respondent can also make an application for specific disclosure against you.
Note that if there has been an order for disclosure, you should wait until after the disclosure stage before making a request for specific disclosure. You should also try asking the Respondent for the documents that you want them to send you, before you apply to the Tribunal.
28. Application for witness order
Either you or the Respondent can make this application to the Employment Tribunal, asking that the Tribunal order a certain witness to attend a Tribunal hearing to give evidence.
The Tribunal can also make a witness order itself, asking someone to attend to give evidence.
29. Request for further and better particulars
Either you or the Respondent can make this application to the Employment Tribunal, asking that the Tribunal order the other party to provide more details of their claim/response. This is useful if the ET3 response you get from your employer lacks details that you need.
If you’re drafting a request for further and better particulars, you should try to be as specific as possible about what further information you need, so that it is really clear what you are asking.
30. Written submissions
Written submissions are the legal arguments that you will prepare for a Tribunal Final Hearing or Substantive Preliminary Hearing. These should refer to the law and the evidence in the case, and try to persuade the Tribunal why your case should succeed.
You and the Respondent will often be asked to produce these by the Tribunal, either instead of or in addition to oral submissions made at the end of the hearing.
31. Skeleton argument
A skeleton argument is an outline of the arguments that a party (either yourself or the Respondent) will make during the course of the hearing.
It can be useful to draft a skeleton argument to keep yourself on track. The Tribunal might ask both you and the Respondent to exchange copies of your skeleton arguments in advance of a hearing, and to provide copies to the Tribunal as well.
32. Evidence of mitigation of losses
In the Employment Tribunal, you have a duty to mitigate your loss. This means that you have a duty to reduce the losses you have experienced. For example if you have lost your job, you should conduct a search for a new job or get medical evidence to show why you have not done so. Otherwise, the Tribunal may reduce the amount of compensation it awards.
It’s useful to focus on gathering important evidence about how you have mitigated your loss - such as payslips and job applications.
33. Application for reconsideration
Either you or the Respondent can make this application to the Employment Tribunal after it has made its decision, asking that the Tribunal reconsider.
You must write to the tribunal office within 14 days of getting the decision, saying why you want it to be reconsidered.
You can appeal to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) if you think a legal mistake was made in an Employment Tribunal case.
For example, you could appeal if you thought the original Tribunal got the law wrong, or was unfairly biased towards the other party.
35. Settlement agreement
It’s common for people to decide to settle their employment claims, and this can happen at any stage - before they even write a grievance letter or ET1, during the course of the Tribunal proceedings, or even on the day of the Final Hearing.
If you’re settling a case, you will sign a contract called a settlement agreement, which will confirm that you are dropping the case in return for the terms agreed - usually your employer will agree to pay you some money. For a settlement agreement to be legally binding, you need to have had independent legal advice on it - your employer will normally offer you some money for this.
If you settle your case through ACAS, rather than directly with the Respondent, then you will agree the terms of settlement in a document called the COT3.
37. Without prejudice letter/email
A without prejudice letter is a letter or email that either you or your employer can send to the other if you are trying to settle a dispute out of court. For example, you might want to write to your employer before you make your Tribunal claim to set out what has happened to you and to offer not to make a claim against them if they agree to settle the matter.
The phrase “without prejudice” means that you intend the letter to be “off the record” and that it shouldn’t be referred to in any subsequent Employment Tribunal litigation. Any letters or emails that are without prejudice should be labelled at the top (literally just by writing “without prejudice” in the subject line).
Use Valla to progress your Employment Tribunal case
If you need help drafting any of these documents, or any other documents as part of your case, the Valla team can give you resources and templates.
You can also use the ‘Documents’ tab in Valla to store your documents and share them with legal advisors, friends or family.