(May 23, 2010)
There are a number of stages involved in the process of managing a case for an employment matter. Further information on of each of the twenty stages listed below can be downloaded directly from the website of the Legal Action Group. For further information on the Legal Action Group click here.
A brief guide on the twenty steps of case management process can be found below:
- Interview client to gather facts and obtain their instruction to represent them before you can do anything else.
- Ascertain the material facts and do a timeline of events. At this stage it is useful to make a bundle of all relevant documents and ensure these are in order of date from the most recent at the front.
- Ascertain the legal issues and conduct legal research from which to base an opinion/letter of advice.
- If the merits of the claim are sufficiently strong to take to the Employment Tribunal, then the next stage will depend on whether the client is still in employment or not. If they are still in employment assist the client to comply with the relevant grievance procedures and ACAS code. Or if they have already been dismissed then assist them with the relevant dismisal procedures and ACAS code.
- Do a Costs/Benefits Analysis and take account of timelines and costs risks and other miscellaneous factors
- If the situation has still not been resolved then draft an ET1 application to the Employment Tribunal and ensure you submit it within the time limit. Keep a receipt of electronic submission of the ET1 or other method of proof of sending. Keep a copy of the receipt for your own file together with the ET1 that you sent to the Tribunal. Then send a duplicate of the ET1 to your client for their records.
- Within the next ten days you should receive a written acknowledgement from the Tribunal of their receipt of the ET1 claim form. Keep this on file and send a duplicate of this correspondence to your client. If you did not receive this acknowledgement from the Tribunal then you will need to telephone them to check whether or not they have recieved the ET1.
- The next step will be for the former employer to send their response to your claim to the Tribunal in the form of an ET3.
- If the former employer fails to submit a response (ET3) then the Tribunal will normally award your client a default judgment. In other words, your client has won by default, because the former employer did not plead a defence. In these circumstances you should notify your client by telephone to advise them of this, and then send them a duplicate of the Judgment. The next stage will then be to wait for notification from the Tribunal of the date for the Remedy Hearing, the purpose of which will be to determine the amount for the award and level of compensation.
- If the former employer does submit a response ET3, then you will receive a copy of this from the Tribunal. You should send a duplicate of the ET3 to the client asking them to provide you with written comments of each paragraph on whether they agree with what is said, and if not then why not.
- If the Tribunal then sends you a notice of hearing advising you of the date of the hearing, location and time. You should then send a duplicate of this to your client, requesting they confirm in writing to you that they are able to attend the hearing and also the names and number of witnesses they plan to bring with them. In addition to the notice of hearing you will usually receive tribunal directions regarding the dates for preliminary matters including the mutual exchange of the list of documents, the witness statements and schedule of loss.
- However the Tribunal may decide not to send you a notice of hearing if they feel the case is not strong enough or there are complicating factors that need clarifying. In these circumstances the Judge may request a Case Management Discussion (‘CMD’). The outcome of the CMD can be either that the case will be thrown out, or that the Judge will strongly suggest that the client should volunteer to withdraw their claim. Alternatively the Judge may simply advise you of the dates for the mutual exchange of list of documents, witness statements and schedule of loss, and finally, the date for the hearing.
- At this stage you will no doubt be in liaison with ACAS who will act on your behalf to reach a settlement before the case gets to the hearing. The advantage of a settlement for your client will be that they usually receive the money within two weeks which is a relatively short time frame. It also takes away the stress of a hearing and the time involved in attending, not to mention the risk element.
- If the case cannot be settled, and it is not withdrawn, then the next stage will be to attend the hearing where you will represent your client.
- Before the hearing there are preliminary matters that need to be done, as mentioned earlier, that are the exchange of the list of documents, the witness statements, the schedule of loss. I will discuss these in more detail at another time.
- Then in preparation for the hearing you will also need to prepare your notes for the hearing.
- If the case has still not been settled then the next stage will be to attend the hearing and advocate on behalf of your client.
- If the Tribunal dismisses your client’s claim then you can send a request in writing to ask for a copy of the judgment with full reasons. You will need this in order to determine whether or not there are any legal issues from which you can appeal the decision to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (‘EAT’).
- If the Tribunal finds in favour of your client, then you will be waiting to receive a copy of the Judgment, that can take approximately a month. Once the former employer has received a copy of the Judgment they will have approximately 40 days in which to make payment to your client. If they fail to pay within this time then you should contact the former employer to see if they will agree to arrange payment by instalments. If they refuse to do this then the next step is to take a claim to the County Court in order to enforce the judgment.
- If the former employer has gone insolvent then to claim the money from the award you will need to get a copy of the RP1 to your client for them to complete and send to the Redundancy Payments Office, together with a copy of their Judgment.