After you make a claim

The respondent usually has to reply to your claim in writing within 28 days of getting your claim form. They will give their side of the case.

Once they’ve replied, the tribunal will decide whether there will be a full hearing to decide on your case.

If they do not reply, the tribunal may decide on your case without you having to go to a hearing.

Because of coronavirus (COVID-19), your hearing may be postponed or it may take place by phone or video. If you already have a hearing date, the court will contact you and tell you how the hearing will take place. Read guidance about what to do if your case is affected.

‘Preliminary hearing’

You may be asked to go to an initial hearing (called a preliminary hearing) with the judge to decide on things like:

  • whether part or all of your claim can go ahead
  • the date and time of a hearing
  • how long the hearing should take

Arrange documents

You can ask the respondent for documents that will help you with your case, and they can request documents from you.

Examples of documents include:

  • a contract of employment
  • pay slips
  • details of your pension scheme
  • notes from relevant meetings you attended at work

Usually the tribunal will issue an order setting out a timetable for when you should exchange documents.

You’ll be sent a letter telling you how many copies of each document to bring to the hearing.

Organise witnesses

You can bring witnesses to the hearing if they can give evidence directly relevant to your case.

If you ask a witness to attend and they do not want to, you can ask the tribunal to order them to come. You must apply in writing to the tribunal office dealing with your case, giving:

  • the name and address of the witness
  • details of what the witness may be able to say and how it will help your case
  • the reason the witness has refused to attend (if they gave you one)

You’ll most likely be responsible for paying the witness’s expenses.