Employment Tribunal shouldn’t limit length of ET1 claim forms
In this post we’re going to take a look at an Employment Appeal Tribunal judgment that was released last year: Fairbank v Care Management Group UKEAT/0139/12/JOJ. This case looks at the powers of an Employment Judge and whether they’re
- What were the facts of Fairbank v Care Management Group?
- What is the law relating to what should be in an ET1?
- What was the Employment Appeal Tribunal’s judgment?
- What our employment solicitors think about this case
What were the facts of Fairbank v Care Management Group?
The Claimants (Mr Fairbank and Mr Evans) in Fairbank v Care Management Group submitted their ET1 claim forms to the Employment Tribunal. These claim forms were fairly lengthy – Mr Fairbank’s claim ran to 27 pages and 66 paragraphs, whilst Mr Evans’ ran to 27 pages and 69 paragraphs. The Employment Tribunal ordered that the Claimants must reduce their claims to a “minimal statement of the supporting facts” of not more than one side of A4 paper. The Claimants appealed on the following grounds: that the decisions of the Employment Judges were perverse, incorrect and an improper exercise of discretion.
What is the law relating to what should be in an ET1?
The starting point for procedural issues relating to ET1 claim forms is the infamous case of Chapman v Simon  IRLR 124, where the Court of Appeal ruled that the only claims which may be pleaded in the Employment Tribunal are those raised in the claim form. However, there are no rules which prescribe the form or format in which an Employment Tribunal claim may be made, save that the claim be submitted on the prescribed ET1 claim form, and that the claimant’s name, address, the name of the respondent, the respondent’s address, and details of the claim be included.
What was the Employment Appeal Tribunal’s judgment?
The Employment Appeal Tribunal decided that the appeal should be allowed on the basis that the Employment Judges did not have the power to make the order that they did – there was no power for the Employment Judge to prescribe the content of an ET1 form (save for the above necessary inclusions). The case was therefore remitted back to the Employment Tribunal for case management discussions.
What our employment solicitors think about this case
Chris Hadrill, an unfair dismissal solicitor at Redmans, commented that “it can often be frustrating to receive relatively incomprehensible and lengthy ET1 claim forms from lay Claimants but this is an occupation hazard. Employment Tribunals should not undertake actions when they do not have the power to do so and should not – in the specific sense – curtail the length of an ET1 claim form”.
Redmans Solicitors are employment solicitors based in London