Do Employment Claims Always Go to Tribunal?

Updated on June 5, 2020
LawCat profile image

Kate has over eight years of experience as an employment and personal injury legal executive. She runs LawCat, a legal explanations website.

The Truth About Tribunal Hearings

When you bring a claim to the employment tribunal, one of your biggest concerns is likely to be the tribunal hearing itself. Will your claim go to tribunal? How fast will it happen? Will you have time to prepare properly? There are a lot of genuine concerns to have when you bring a claim. Unfortunately, there are also a lot of myths out there that can muddy the waters and cause confusion and further stress. This article debunks the most common myths about the tribunal hearing.

It's a Myth That Your Claim Will Definitely Go to Tribunal

The myth says that once you send off your claim form, that’s it—there’s no way to avoid going to tribunal. This is simply not true.

While you should only bring a claim when you are confident that you understand the very real possibility that you may end up at a tribunal hearing, there is no guarantee that you will have ‘your day in court.' The majority of claims settle long before the actual tribunal hearing.

The Majority of Claims Settle Long Before the Actual Tribunal Hearing

There are a variety of reasons that your claim could settle outside of the Tribunal, and if you find yourself in a position to settle for a reasonable settlement, then you should strongly consider doing so. If you go to a Tribunal hearing there is no guarantee that you will win, you have as much chance of going to Tribunal and losing as you do of winning. Going to Tribunal is a big risk, and there are consequences to taking such a risk. If you lose, you could be exposed to the Respondent’s costs.

Settling before going to Tribunal is actively encouraged by the Tribunal service and ACAS (who offer a free conciliation service). If you can find legal representation, they will actively look for opportunities to settle your claim to avoid the risk of going to Tribunal and walking away with nothing. Your solicitors will work hard to negotiate a suitable compensation settlement for you.

Settling Your Claim

If you are bringing the claim yourself, you should consider your best-case and worst-case scenarios if you went to Tribunal today and try to encourage and discuss settlement with the Respondents with this in mind. Consider the risks of going to Tribunal when you discuss settlement and try to understand that settling before going to Tribunal is a negotiation. You are unlikely to achieve your best-case scenario if you opt for settlement but by negotiating you lose the risk of walking away with nothing (except perhaps a bill).

BONUS MYTH: "Never Accept the First Offer"

This myth applies to all kinds of claims and is a personal pet peeve of mine. While it is not unheard of for the first offer to not be accepted, the first offer is not an arbitrary figure.

If you are making the first offer, you should do so with the genuine desire to settle your claim. You should truthfully assess your losses and make a reasonable offer based on putting yourself back in the position you would be in had the negligence not occurred.

If you have received the first offer, then the offer should not be dismissed out of hand. You should carefully consider it, as the figure is unlikely to have been plucked from thin air, it will have been carefully calculated. If you cannot see how the figure has been calculated then tell the Respondent this; ask them to explain to you how they reached the figure they have. When they come back to you assess their points carefully and outline to them any discrepancies. This could potentially make them reevaluate their position and make you a more suitable offer, or it could be an opportunity for you to make a further offer.

When to Settle

There are numerous opportunities to settle a claim before going to the Tribunal hearing, and these opportunities will be easier to identify once you have sent your claim form to the Tribunal. After sending your claim form, the Tribunal will provide you with a timetable of when certain documents are to be completed and exchanged. Once you have this timetable, you will be able to review it and spot the points in your claim when you might be able to open up negotiations.

For example, there will come a time when you have to exchange witness statements. This means you should complete your witness statement and any supporting statements and send them to the Respondent by a certain date. The Respondent will also complete their statements and send them to you by this day. So, you will provide the Respondent with a great deal of information about your claim and what you feel happened and in particular why the Respondent is at fault, while at the same time receive a great deal of information regarding the Respondent’s point of view. You will see their argument laid out in black and white. You will also see how much support they have from their witnesses. This should also bring to light any points of concern you have for your case (although you should already be aware of these by this point as you should have considered your case well before starting a claim). You will see how strong the Respondent’s arguments are and how strong yours are in comparison. This will give you a reasonable idea of how likely the Respondents are to settle the claim and how much power you can bring to the negotiation.

The timetable provided by the Tribunal will also set a date for the hearing or a window of time when the hearing is likely to take place, and you may receive a more specific date later.

Even once you have a date set for your Hearing, it is possible to settle the claim. Claims can settle on the day of the hearing or even halfway through the hearing. However, if your claim goes to Tribunal hearing and you are nervous, you should do your utmost to keep a cool head if the Respondents decide now is the time they want to discuss settlements. Do not let them take advantage of you because you are under stress, and always take the time to consider the settlement package on offer.


You should now have a better understanding of why the “claim will always go to tribunal” myth is just that. A myth. There are numerous opportunities to settle a claim before going to Tribunal. You should also have an understanding of just what you should be considering when you look to settle your claim. You need to consider the reasonableness of the offer, as well as what you could hope to achieve at Tribunal and weigh it against the risk of going to Tribunal and walking away with nothing.

Do you think your case will proceed to Tribunal or settle along the way?

See results

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)