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Challenging an employment tribunal decision

This advice applies to England

You might get the tribunal’s decision about your case at the end of the hearing or in the post afterwards. 

When you get their decision, you might want to talk about it with your adviser or representative to make sure you understand it. 

If you don't have an adviser or representative, and the judge tells you their decision at the hearing, you should ask them to explain anything you don't understand. 

If you're not happy with a decision and you don’t have a representative, you'll need to get advice on how to challenge the decision. This might mean you need to see a solicitor as this is a specialised area of advice. You should get advice on whether you can:

  • ask for the case to be looked at again - this is called asking for a reconsideration

  • appeal to the Employment Appeal Tribunal

Asking for written reasons

If you want to challenge a decision, check the document the tribunal sent you - look for a section headed ‘Reasons’. If the tribunal didn’t send you reasons, write to them and ask for written reasons for the decision. 

You should ask for written reasons within 14 days of the date the tribunal sent you the decision. 

If you miss the deadline, you can still ask for written reasons but the tribunal might refuse, so say in your request why you weren't able to ask within 14 days.

Asking for a reconsideration

The judge who made the decision will decide if it should be changed. They can do this if it's 'in the interests of justice' - for example if:

  • you didn't attend the hearing because you didn't get notice of it

  • the tribunal made a mistake in calculating compensation

  • you've found new evidence that couldn't have been found in time for the hearing 

Tribunals can't reconsider their decision just because you think it's wrong. They’re more likely to reconsider it if there’s an obvious mistake or something wrong with the procedure at the hearing.

You must apply  for reconsideration in writing and send a copy to the other sides in the case. You must say why the original decision should be reconsidered. You must make the application within 14 days of either:

  • the date on which the original decision was sent to the parties

  • the date on which the written reasons were sent to you (if that’s later)

If you had to ask for written reasons, you can ask for a reconsideration before you have them, for example if it's obvious there's a mistake. It's still a good idea to ask for written reasons in case the tribunal rejects your request for a reconsideration and you need to appeal.  

Appealing against the decision

You can only appeal to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) if you think the employment tribunal made a legal mistake. This is called ‘appealing on a point of law’. You can't appeal just to challenge a decision you're not happy with. This means it's quite rare for cases to be appealed. 

If you want to appeal, you must have the full written reasons for the tribunal's judgment. 

You must appeal within 42 days of the date the written reasons for the judgment were sent out. You can find out how to appeal on the EAT website

If you asked for written reasons late, you should start your appeal within 42 days of the date the tribunal sent you the judgment. If you haven’t got the written reasons yet, explain why in your appeal. 

If you asked for a reconsideration but the tribunal hasn’t yet made a decision, you should also appeal before the deadline for making an appeal. This is just in case the tribunal rejects your request for a reconsideration. If you need help with an appeal, you can find details of organisations that might be able to help you find a solicitor.

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