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Unsure of your equality rights or the law? We can provide advice and assistance for people who feel they have been discriminated against.
 
 

Glossary of terms

Tribunals

What you need to know

 

Glossary



Appeal
You can appeal the decision of an employment tribunal on issues of the law.  Appealing an employment tribunal’s decision to the Court of Appeal is a difficult process and we would recommend you seek legal advice.
 

Bundle
A bundle is a file of documents that make up the evidence an employment tribunal will need to look at during the hearing.
 

Case management discussion
Is a meeting before the main hearing of your tribunal case.  During the meeting you will discuss with the Respondent and the tribunal judge, how the case will run and what will happen. 
 

Claimant
If you are making a claim of discrimination to a Tribunal you will be referred to as a Claimant on all Tribunal paperwork.
 

Closing statement
At the end of the tribunal hearing you will be required to make a short speech to remind the tribunal of the main points of the case.
 

Compensation
If you win your case the employment tribunal might award you a sum of money.
 

Compromise agreement
An agreement signed between you and the Respondent without going to a tribunal which complies with statutory requirements.  The agreement brings the case to an end and means that you agree not to take a case and the claim cannot be re-started.
 

Conciliation
The Labour Relations Agency (LRA) has a statutory remit to attempt to seek the resolution of most infringements of individual employment rights, without the need for a Tribunal hearing.  In all such cases the LRA Officers help both parties to settle disputes in a friendly manner by bringing both sides together to reach a compromise.
 

Conciliated agreement
The Labour Relations Agency (LRA) will facilitate in the signing of a legally binding agreement between the Claimant and the Respondent.  Usually the Claimant agrees to ‘settle-out-of-court’ by accepting the financial, or other, compensation that the Respondent  is offering in return for signing away your right to pursue the claim.

Counter claim
If the Claimant makes a claim against the Respondent for a breach of contract, they may be able to make a claim back against you.
 

Cost orders
An order of the Tribunal requiring either the Claimant or the Respondent to pay some, or all, of the legal costs of the other party or any costs incurred by the Department in relation to witness allowances or expenses. (See also Preparation Time Orders).

Cross-examination
This is when a witness for the Claimant’s side may be asked questions by the Respondent or it may by you asking questions of the Respondent’s witness.  The purpose of cross examination is to provide proof to the tribunal in the case.. It follows immediately after the Evidence in Chief.
 

Default judgement
When a Respondent fails to file their response on time the Tribunal will make a default judgement.  Such judgements may be reviewed at the request of either party.
 

Directions
Instructions provided by the tribunal on:
 

  • Providing more information;
  • Dates for completion of witness statements;
  • Dates for completion of bundles.
     

Disclosure
Copies of all documents relevant to the case must be provided to the Respondent and Claimant respectively.  The Claimant can write to the Respondent to ask for the documents or you can ask the tribunal to make an Order for the supply of certain documents.
 

Evidence in chief
This term describes the evidence given by a witness by way of witness statement or as a result of questions from the party that called him or her.
 
Grievance
A process of formally raising your concerns with the Respondent through their grievance procedure.
 

Hearing
The hearing is where the tribunal panel hear the evidence and submission of the parties.
 

Interim relief
An order of the Tribunal granting the Claimant short-term relief from the Respondent’s decision until a specified date or until the claim is dealt with.

ET1
The form submitted by a Claimant to a Tribunal to make a claim and set out the case.  This is a legal document and there are strict time limits.
 
ET3
The form used by the Respondent when responding to the claim made in the Claimant’s ET1.  The reply will include why they disagree with your claim.
 

Judgement
A decision taken by the tribunal at the end of the hearing.  The decision and the reasons for the decision may be delivered at the end of the day or the judgement may be sent in writing at a later date.
 

Notice for additional information
A notice directed by one party to the other, requesting further detail and information about its case to the party issuing the Notice. (See also Notice for Further and Better Particulars).
 

Notice for discovery
A document sent to the other party requesting it to provide certain documents related to the case.  A Tribunal can be asked to provide an Order for Discovery if the notice is not complied with.
 
Notice for further and better particulars (or Notice for additional information)

A document sent to the other party requesting it to provide further information relating to the claim.  A Tribunal can be asked to make an Order for further and better particulars if the Notice is not complied with. (See also Notice for additional information).
 

Notice of appearance
A document filed by or on behalf of the Respondent indicating that they are responding to the claim.  It is usually issued by the Respondent’s legal representatives.
 
Order for discovery
The tribunal instructs the Respondent to provide the Claimant with the information you are requesting.
 

Pre-Hearing review
A hearing before the main tribunal hearing.  It will be attended by the Claimant, Respondent and the tribunal judge.  During this pre-hearing it will review and decide on important preliminary legal point(s) that have to be concluded before the case can proceed to a full hearing.
 
Preparation time order
If a Claimant is not legally represented the Tribunal can order the Respondent to pay the costs in respect of the preparation time of the Claimant. 

Prima facie
Is a Latin term used to express the idea that someone has a plausible case or one which appears at first glance to have some validity.
 
Protective proceedings
A term used to describe a claim made to a Tribunal before the expiry of a Claimant’s time limit.  This protects the claimant’s right to proceed with the case pending the resolution of other proceedings.
 
Questionnaire procedure
A Claimant can address written questions to the Respondent about your claim at an early stage of the case.  The Respondent is not obliged to answer but any failure to do so can result in the Tribunal drawing adverse or negative conclusions from the refusal to answer.  (Also known as the Statutory Questionnaire Procedure).
 

Respondent
If you are making a claim of discrimination the Respondent, who will be responding to your claim will be referred to as the Respondent on all paperwork in the Tribunal.
 

Restricted reporting orders
These orders can be made by the Tribunal in cases involving allegations of sexual misconduct or disability discrimination cases where evidence is of a personal nature and limit the extent to which the media and others can report the details of the case.
 
Review hearing
A hearing to ask the Tribunal to reconsider a decision it has made.  For or example:

 
  • not accepting a claim or a response
  • deciding an issue in the case, such as the liability of one of the parties.

It is a form of internal appeal and should not to be confused with a default judgement review hearing.

Schedule of loss
This is a document that helps you work out the financial loss sustained by the Claimant.  For example:
 
  • Unpaid wages
  • Compensation for unfair dismissal; or
  • Injury to feelings.
  • This sets out the loss sustained by the Claimant from the date of the latest discriminatory incident until the hearing.

Settlement
This is an agreement between the Claimant and the Respondent to stop the case before it goes to tribunal.  Often, a sum of money or other monetary agreement is offered to you by the Respondent on the condition you agree not to continue with the case. 
 

Statement of facts and legal issues
A document that sets out the factual and legal issues the Tribunal must decide on during the hearing of the claim. It will have been finalised at the Case Management Discussion by the Tribunal.

Stayed
A claim is stayed, ‘put on hold’, by the Tribunal, at the request of one of the parties or by agreement between them. The usual reason for staying a claim is to allow a settlement to be implemented.

Strike out
A Tribunal may bring a claim to a definitive end by ordering that it be struck out.  This can be done if, for example, a party has failed to comply with an order of the Tribunal.  This means that the claim cannot be made again.
 
Tribunal rules
Rules of Procedure for Industrial and Fair Employment Tribunals set out in law. Rules for ITs are Industrial Tribunal (Constitution and Rules of Procedure) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2005, and for FETs are Fair Employment Tribunal (Constitution and Rules of Procedure) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2005. 
 

Unless order
A term used to describe an order made by the Tribunal which will result in the striking out of a party’s claim and / or response unless it is complied with.

Wasted costs order
If the Tribunal considers that legal representatives of either party have behaved in an unreasonable manner they will make a wasted costs order.  This order makes the legal representative personally liable.

Without prejudice
A phrase used by lawyers to prevent the content of pre-hearing negotiations from being mentioned in the course of the Tribunal proceedings.
 
Witness order
An order from the Tribunal is sent to a particular witness to request attendance.  Failure of the witness to attend will result in a fine being issued.  
 

Witness statements
A signed document(s) containing the evidence that a witness intends to give at the Tribunal.  The Claimant will normally have to read out the witness statement(s) at the hearing as your evidence.

 

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