Can a claim sensibly be responded to if the ET1 form does not contain any particulars?

When making a claim to an employment tribunal against an employer, potential employer or trade union, a claimant is required to present a completed Form ET1 to the employment tribunal. If the claimant does not use the prescribed ET1 the claim will be rejected.

The ET1 contains a section which allows the claimant to identify the type and details of the claim i.e. the particulars of claim. The claim, or part of the claim, may be rejected if an employment judge considers it to be in a form which cannot be sensibly responded to. A claimant should ensure that s/he provides as full particulars as possible in order to limit the risk of his or her claim being rejected.

What if a claimant does not include any particulars of claim?

A recent case has ruled that it may be possible in certain circumstances for a claim to be sensibly responded to even if it contains no particulars of claim. In SoS for BEIS v Parry the Claimant’s Solicitors attached the wrong particulars to the claim form i.e. they wrote ‘please see attached’ in the relevant section of the ET1 and attached particulars which related to an entirely different case.

Despite the fact that the ET1 did not contain the correct particulars of claim, the Employment Judge decided to accept the claim. This decision was upheld by the Court of Appeal which held that an employment judge should only reject a claim if s/he is sure that it cannot be sensibly responded to – if there is any doubt, an employment judge should accept the claim.

The Respondent in this case knew the details of the claim made against it and therefore it was arguable that the Respondent could have reasonably responded to the claim without the attached particulars.

The Court of Appeal made it clear that this decision should not be laid down as a general rule and that a respondent to a claim should not always be treated as having detailed knowledge of everything that has occurred between the parties. The Court gave an example of a claim for discrimination and stated that if a claimant did not provide particulars in such a case, the ET1 might well be held to be in a form to which the employer could not sensibly respond and thus properly rejected.

The Court of Appeal also clarified that it will not always be the case that an ET1 without particulars can sensibly be responded to and that it will depend on the circumstances and the facts of each case.

Despite these findings it is likely to be in the interests of the claimant to provide full details of his or her claim in the ET1 to reduce any likelihood of the claim being rejected. 

The ET1 is available on the gov.uk website and can be downloaded here.

The law and practice referred to in this article or webinar has been paraphrased or summarised. It might not be up-to-date with changes in the law and we do not guarantee the accuracy of any information provided at the time of reading. It should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice in relation to a specific set of circumstances.

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