Employment Tribunals

Click here to find your nearest employment tribunal office

Employment law and dispute resolution

An employment tribunal can be a disgruntled employee or ex-employee’s last, best chance of settling a dispute with their employer or ex-employer.

However, an employee cannot jump straight into an employment tribunal at the first sign of dispute – nor would they want to. A dispute should only go to employment tribunal once the employer’s own internal complaint procedures have been exhausted and attempted conciliation between the two parties through a body such as the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) has failed. Only once these procedures have failed will a dispute be ready to go to employment tribunal.

What does an employment tribunal do?

An employment tribunal has the legal authority to settle these disputes, and authorise monetary compensation where appropriate. However, compensation is not always the outcome of a successful tribunal case – an employee could also win the right to reinstatement of his or her job, or ‘re-engagement’ in which a tribunal will order re-employment on new terms.

Employment tribunals that involve the more complex types of employment dispute are usually overseen by a panel of three people - an employment judge and two lay members. Members of the panel should be completely independent and impartial. If the case is more straightforward it may be heard by an employment judge alone.

Going to employment tribunal is a lot like going to a county court – the decision handed down at the end is legally binding, and you can hire an employment law solicitor to help you argue your case. Be aware that you give evidence at the tribunal under oath or affirmation, so any lie or mistruth would be considered perjury.

Employment Tribunal Costs

Since summer 2013, taking a case to employment tribunal has required you to pay a fee based on the type of claim you are bringing. This fee will be either £160 or £250.

Legal aid is not available for employment tribunal cases, but there are other ways that may be available to help you pay your legal fees. For example, if you are a member of a trade union, the union may offer to cover your solicitor’s costs for you. The Equality and Human Rights Commission may offer financial support if yours is a discrimination case.

In some cases, the tribunal may order that one or both of the parties involved must pay legal costs for the case. However, this is rare, and will only happen if the tribunal feels that a party acted unreasonably during a tribunal, or that they acted unreasonably in allowing the case to reach an employment tribunal in the first place (if an employee brings an obviously spurious case to tribunal, for example).

What Kind Of Claims Can Be Heard By Employment Tribunals?

Examples of the types of claim an employment tribunal can deal with include:

  • Unfair dismissal and constructive dismissal
  • Discrimination on the grounds of disability, race, sex, age, sexual orientation, religion or belief, pregnancy or maternity, marriage or civil partnership or gender reassignment
  • Not being allowed to have someone accompany you to a disciplinary or grievance hearing
  • Not being consulted in a redundancy situation
  • Breach of contract of employment
  • Equal pay issues

There is a limit on how long you can wait to take a case to employment tribunal – e.g. in an unfair dismissal claim, you can only do so within three months less one day of the date of your dismissal, or of the complaint occurring.

Compensation Amounts

If an employment tribunal rules in favour of the employee or ex-employee, they can order the employer to pay him or her compensation. For example, in unfair dismissal claims, there are two forms of compensation that can be awarded by an employment tribunal (the Basic Award and the Compensatory Award), both of which can be awarded together.

If you have been claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance or Income Support since the incident happened – for example, if you were unfairly dismissed – the amount that you have received in benefit will be deducted from your award, and paid back to Jobcentre Plus.

The Basic Award

The basic award is a fixed amount, calculated in a similar manner to statutory redundancy pay. The amount that a successful complainant can be awarded is dependent on their termination date, gross weekly wage (capped at £450 per week), age, and the number of years of continuous service of employment the employee had (capped at 20 years).

If you have already received redundancy pay, then you cannot be awarded basic award compensation.

The Compensatory Award

The compensatory award is more complex, and more difficult to quantify. It is designed to compensate for any losses you will have suffered as a result of the issues that you took to the tribunal.

The maximum compensatory award that a tribunal can award is usually £74,200, although this limit can be broken in exceptional circumstances. Calculation of compensatory award is informed by a number of different factors:

Actual loss – this accounts for the quantifiable losses that the employee suffered as a result of the dispute, replacing the money he or she would have earned working for the employer if nothing had happened.

Estimated future loss – more difficult to calculate, this aspect of the award is designed to compensate the ex-employee for how much they will lose in the future, if they have lost their job and have not yet found a new one. The size of this award will depend on how quickly the complainant should be able to find work again, in the view of the tribunal.

Other expenses – this aspect of the award covers minor expenses that an ex-employee may have incurred in trying to find other work.

Loss of the statutory right to not be dismissed – this is fairly constant, and simply compensates the ex-employee for having one of their statutory rights violated.

Other factors will affect the amount of the final payout, such as whether the employee has already found other work, and whether or not the employee may have been dismissed even if fair dismissal procedures had been followed.

Find an Employment Tribunal

Below is a list of all the Employment Tribunals in England, Wales and Scotland, with email contact details. Here are a couple of telephone numbers which may come in useful.

Employment Tribunal Enquiry Line - 0845 7959775

Enquiry Line (mini com) 0845 757322 (for deaf and hard of hearing) 


Mezzanine Floor, Atholl House, 84-88 Guild Street Aberdeen AB11 6LT

01224 593137



1st Floor, Ashford House, County Square Shopping Centre, Ashford, Kent TN1YB

01233 621346



8-10 Howard Street, Bedford MK40 3HS

01234 351306



Phoenix House 1-3 Newhall Street, Birmingham B3 3NH

0121 236 6051



Brighton City, Gate House City, Gate House, 185 Dyke Road, Brighton, East Sussex, BN3 1TL

020 8667 9131



First Floor, The Crescent Centre, Temple Back Bristol BS1 6EZ

0117 929 8261


Bury St Edmunds

100 Southgate Street, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk IP33 2AQ

01284 762171



2nd Floor, Caradog House, 1-6 St Andrews Place, Cardiff CF10 3BE

02920 678100



Ground Floor, Block C, Caledonian House, Greenmarket, Dundee DD1 4QX

0138 222 1578


East London

East London Tribunal Service, 2nd Floor, Anchorage House, 2 Clove Crescent, London E14 2BE

0207 538 6161



54-56 Melville Street, Edinburgh EH3 7HF

0131 226 5584



2nd Floor, Keble House, Southernhay Gardens, Exeter EX1 1NT

01392 279665



Eagle Building, 215 Bothwell Street, Glasgow G27TS

0141 204 0730


 Huntingdon Huntingdon Law Courts, Walden Road, Huntingdon, PE29 3DW  01480 415600  huntingdonet@hmcts.gsi.gov.uk


4th Floor, City Exchange, 11 Albion Street, Leeds LS1 5ES

0113 245 9741



5a New Walk, Leicester LE1 6TE

0116 255 0099



Manchester Employment Tribunals,
Alexandra House,
14-22 The Parsonage,
M3 2JA

0161 8336100


London Central

Ground Floor, Victory House, 30-34 Kingsway, London WC2B 6EX

020 7273 8603


London South

Montague Court, 101 London Road, West Croydon CR0 2RF

020 8667 9131


 London East
East London Tribunal Service,
2nd Floor,
Anchorage House,
2 Clove Crescent,
E14 2BE
 0207 538 6161  londoneastet@tribunals.gsi.gov.uk


Alexandra House, 14-22 The Parsonage, Manchester M3 2JA

0161 833 0581



Quayside House, 110 Quayside, Newcastle Upon Tyne NE1 3DX

0191 260 6900



3rd Floor, Byron House, 2a Maid Marion Way, Nottingham NG1 6HS

0115 947 5701



5th Floor, 30-31 Friar Street, Reading RG1 1DY

0118 959 4917



Leeds Employment Tribunals
4th Floor
City Exchange
11 Albion Street

0113 245 9741



Prospect House, Belle Vue Road, Shrewsbury SY3 7NR

01743 358341



3rd Floor Dukes Keep, Marsh Lane, Southampton SO14 3EX

023 8071 6400



3rd Floor, Radius House, 51 Clarendon Road, Watford, Herts WD1 1HU

01923 281750


(Last updated: 19 April 2013)

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