Employment tribunals: Our top tips

by | Mar 15, 2021 | Blog

We sincerely hope you won’t ever have to find yourself attending an employment tribunal but if you do need to, we’ve put together our best tips for calming your nerves and how to prepare to ensure that your tribunal hearing goes as smoothly as possible.

Calming your nerves

Arrive early –  check the start time as it can vary. It’s advised that you arrive half an hour before the tribunal begins.

We’ll talk about how important being properly prepared is shortly, and being prepared can also massively calm your nerves. Familiarise yourself with any documents you will be have with you, including the witness statement. Going into something knowing what you’re doing will help you feel more confident about the hearing and answering questions during it, so it’s better to be over prepared than under prepared.

If you have never attended a tribunal before and have no idea what to expect then you can sit in on a hearing before attending yours, or even find out if there are any mock tribunals being held that you could attend.

Prepare, prepare, prepare!

Preparation is the key to helping you convey your thoughts clearly to the judge/panel and also ensuring that you aren’t fumbling through your documents, referred to as a ‘tribunal bundle’. You will be given a clean copy of your tribunal bundle and your witness statement in the hearing, note that it is not permitted to bring annotated versions of these documents

Familiarise yourself with all your documents to avoid unnecessary searching during the hearing. If you put together the tribunal bundle yourself then ensure you include an index, this will help you find particular documents should you need to. Documents you should have in the bundle may include:

  • Anything regarding your employment including your contract, pay slips, salary details and pension scheme details.
  • Any form of communication you have had with your boss or colleagues regarding the situation including emails, texts, or even social media messages and posts if applicable.
  • Notes from meetings relevant to the case.

Getting it right

Ensure your mobile phone is switched off or at least on silent – a phone ringing during a tribunal can be disruptive and also a distraction for everyone including yourself, not to mention being considered unprofessional.

Dress smartly, this is a public and legal hearing so think ‘important business conference’ when you get ready on the morning of the tribunal and you will come across more professional.

It may feel unnatural at first but when you are asked a question then you should always address your answer to the panel/judge rather than the person asking the question. Speak slowly and clearly, and always refer to the judge as “Sir” or “Madam” as appropriate.

Don’t panic if you can’t remember all the details. It’s completely acceptable to say that you don’t remember or that you would like to take a moment to think or look through your evidence to try and jog your memory. You can also ask for questions to be rephrased or repeated if you just need it to be put in simpler terms.

We hope this has helped, and if you would like more tips and information on attending employment tribunal then please get in touch, you can contact us here.