The pitfalls of failing to complete your ET1 claim form correctly

A couple of recent EAT cases have served as a reminder of the importance of completing an ET1 correctly. 

In the case of Sterling v United Learning Trust, the employee submitted her ET1 to the Employment Tribunal in time, however there were some digits missing from the ACAS Early Conciliation number which is now a mandatory entry in the form.  The Tribunal rejected the ET1 on this basis.  By the time the Claimant had corrected the form and resubmitted it, the Tribunal held that they had no jurisdiction to consider the claim as it was out of time.  The EAT held that rule 10(1)(c) of the Employment Tribunal Rules 2013 obliges an employment tribunal to reject a claim that includes an error in the Early Conciliation number entered. The employment tribunal was therefore entitled to reject the claim in the first instance due to the incorrect information and thereafter on the basis that the claim was out of time.  A costly error indeed!

In another recent case, namely Deangate Ltd v Hatley the EAT considered an ET1  was presented on time where the application for remission was submitted separately after the limitation date to present the claim. In this case the EAT upheld the employment tribunal’s decision that claims presented online were in time even though the fee remission applications were received by the tribunal service after the limitation dates had expired. The EAT when reaching its decision considered that the current method for submitting an ET1 form online does not allow for the remission application form to be submitted online. Therefore the EAT held that in these circumstances, a claim presented online is “accompanied” by a remission application for the purposes of rule 11 of the ET rules if the claimant ticks the box to confirm that remission applies.  The EAT recognised that to decide otherwise would result in a situation where only those who can afford to pay a fee will be able to make tribunal applications online.

In order to ensure the successful submission of ET1 claim forms and ET3 response forms to the Employment Tribunal, we would recommend that you or your business seek professional legal advice, therefore ensuring that all forms are completed accurately and submitted on time and that you are appropriately advised of the correct course of action in the event of any issues arising.

Finally a useful reminder of some key practical points when completing ET1 and ET3 forms:

  1. Avoid submitting claim forms at the last minute wherever possible.
  2. Ensure that the information provided on the claim form is entirely correct and ensure that all mandatory boxes have been completed.
  3. If an ET1 or ET3 is rejected, provided that you have grounds to do so, apply for a reconsideration of the judgement rejecting the claim or response as quickly as possible.

If you or your business have concerns regarding the issues raised above please contact a member of our employment team.