Preliminary hearings in the employment tribunal

The following Employment practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Preliminary hearings in the employment tribunal
  • Scope of preliminary hearings
  • Definition of 'preliminary issue'
  • What causes a preliminary hearing to be held
  • Requirements to give notice of date and issues
  • Composition of employment tribunal
  • Whether hearing will be public or private
  • Preliminary hearings relating only to general case management orders
  • Limitations on evidence and use of sample incidents
  • Use of pro forma agenda documents
  • More...

Preliminary hearings in the employment tribunal

Coronavirus (COVID-19): All proceedings in employment tribunals in England, Wales and Scotland during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and until further notice are operating in accordance with the Presidential guidance and directions now issued, which profoundly affect normal practice. See Practice Note: Operation of employment tribunals during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic for full information.

The ET Rules classify all hearings as either:

  1. a preliminary hearing (the subject of this practice note)

  2. a final hearing (see Practice Notes: Preparation for employment tribunal final hearing and Procedure at employment tribunal final hearing)

The scope of what these two types of hearing may cover is different, as are the ET Rules which govern their procedure. These aspects are discussed in this practice note and (as regards final hearings) in the two practice notes mentioned above.

Some rules are common to both preliminary and final hearings, and some other procedural issues also arise in both. See Practice Note: Conduct of employment tribunal hearings—general for coverage of these aspects of tribunal procedure.

There may be more than one preliminary hearing in any case.

A tribunal conducting a preliminary hearing may order that it be treated as a final hearing, if:

  1. the tribunal is properly constituted for the purpose (ie it has two lay members sitting as well as an Employment Judge, if the final hearing

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