Introduction to this document

Tribunal preparation checklist


If litigation cannot be avoided, the parties should prepare themselves as thoroughly as possible in order to bring or defend the case effectively. This checklist will help you prepare in the event that no resolution has been achieved and the claim is set to be heard by the employment tribunal.


Bundle of documents

At the hearing, documents should be presented in a way which makes them easy to find and identify, particularly if they are numerous. The parties should agree a bundle of documents containing all correspondence and other documents on which they intend to rely at the hearing. Relevant documents may include documents which record events in the employment history, for example a letter of appointment, statement of particulars or contract of employment, notes of a significant meeting such as a disciplinary interview, a resignation or dismissal letter or even electronic and social media documents. The claimant may have documents to disclose which relate to looking for and finding alternative work. All relevant documents must be disclosed unless they are privileged or part of a protected conversation discussion. The bundle should be in chronological order and have numbered pages.

In most cases, the respondent (usually the employer) has most or all of the relevant documents. This often makes it sensible for the respondent to take the lead in disclosure. Each party should prepare a list of all relevant documents they hold and send it as soon as possible to the other party. The parties can meet and inspect each other's documents. More commonly they will agree to exchange photocopies of their documents. If there is any dispute as to the admissibility or authenticity of any document, then (unless it can be dealt with at a preliminary hearing) such documents should still be included in the bundle but the issue should be raised at the beginning of the hearing.

Between five to eight copies of the bundle should be prepared depending whether the employment judge sits alone or there is a full tribunal panel. Tribunal copies should be brought to the hearing and should not be sent in advance, unless requested. The party preparing the bundle should ensure that all the photocopies in the bundle are legible, in a logical order (usually chronological) and numbered. It is helpful to include an index at the beginning of the bundle identifying the page numbers of each document. It is now common practice for tribunals to place strict limits on the number of pages which the bundle can contain. 

The party normally responsible for the bundle will be the claimant; however, if a claimant is unrepresented, the respondent may take over this in order to make sure that there is a complete, properly collated bundle in time for the hearing.


Witness statements

Witness statements may be based on statements produced at an earlier stage in the dispute, or as part of a disciplinary process. Usually tribunals will order that there should be simultaneous exchange of witness statements a certain number of days prior to the hearing and that no further witnesses statements may be relied upon at the hearing without the tribunal's permission. As with bundles of documents, at least five to eight copies of witness statements should be prepared. Note that it is becoming increasingly common for tribunals to place strict limits on the number of words that witness statements can contain.