An ET1 is a formal legal document which starts an Employment Tribunal claim. An ET1 is completed by a Claimant or their representative. Once issued by the Tribunal Service, a copy of the ET1 is sent to each of the Respondents to the claim. The time this takes can vary significantly between different regions. When the ET1 is sent to the Respondent, you should receive an ‘Acknowledgement of Claim’ and details as to when the Respondent should respond.

The ET1 form which needs completing can be found online here. The ET1 is usually best issued online. Time limits for issuing employment tribunal claims are tight (usually 3 months) and strictly applied so it is important that the ET1 is not left until the last minute in case there are technical or IT issues.

Usually, a potential Claimant would need to have obtained an ACAS Early Conciliation certificate before being able to lodge an ET1. Until late July 2017, a Claimant had to pay a fee or apply for fee remission when lodging their ET1. Since July 2017 Employment Tribunal fees have been scrapped, but they may return.

The Employment Tribunal Rules of Procedure 2013, specifically Rules 8-12, specify what the Employment Tribunal demands in the ET1 and their reasons for rejecting an ET1. Usually, one or more Claimants can complete only one ET1 if the Claim is substantially based upon the same facts.

The ET1 form will specify, by using asterisks (*), which boxes must be completed, such as:

  • the Claimant’s name and address
  • ACAS Early Conciliation certificate number
  • the Respondent’s name and address
  • the types of claims being brought; and
  • the details of those claims

 
It is important that you tick all potential types of claim that apply. For instance, if you think you have been unfairly dismissed and are owed holiday pay and were not paid your notice, you should tick the boxes for unfair dismissal, holiday pay and notice pay.

The other information requested on the form, such as date of birth (which is relevant to calculating a statutory redundancy payment or unfair dismissal basic award), dates of employment, details of earnings and benefits with the Respondent and from any new employment, is optional but will be helpful if completed.

Often an ET1 is accompanied by a separate Grounds of Claim which sets out the factual scenario of the claim and the specific areas of law which the Claimant alleges have been broken. A free example of a Grounds of Claim to accompany the ET1 can be found here.

If a Claimant is unable to obtain a No Win, No Fee agreement from a solicitor, does not have Legal Expenses Insurance, and does not have Trade Union funding, but can only afford a small amount of legal advice, then it is advisable that an Employment Solicitor or Barrister prepares the ET1 and Grounds of Claim, given that the majority of employment claims do not go to trial. It is essential that the ET1 and Grounds of Claim are correctly prepared.

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