Can Employment Tribunal Case Management Orders Be Changed?
Navigating the Employment Tribunal Process on your own can be a daunting, and sometimes confusing experience. If the Employment Tribunal has ordered you to do something by a specific date, you must comply with that Order. If you cannot comply, you must seek to change the Order. Read on for more information.
What Are Case Management Orders?
A Case Management Order is an instruction from the Employment Tribunal for you to do something by a certain date. These Orders can include tasks such as:
- providing a Schedule of Loss,
- disclosure of documents,
- creating a bundle of documents,
- exchanging witness statements.
It is very important you understand what you are being asked to do each step of the way. If you are not sure, it is best to seek legal advice before going any further.
For more detail and information about how to prepare your witness statements, please visit our website at https://lincslaw.co.uk/blog/employment-tribunal-witness-statements/
For more detail and information about how to prepare your bundle of documents, please visit our website at https://lincslaw.co.uk/blog/what-is-a-bundle-of-documents-in-the-employment-tribunal/
When Are Case Management Orders Usually Made?
The Employment Tribunal has the power to make a Case Management Order at any stage of the claim process, either of its own decision or on an application from either party.
The first set of Case Management Orders are usually made when the claim is originally issued. The Order will contain a timetable of tasks and events you must comply with.
In some claims, the Employment Tribunal considers it necessary to hold a Preliminary Hearing, which is an initial hearing to discuss how your claim is going to progress through the Employment Tribunal process. Case Management Orders will be reviewed during the Preliminary Hearing.
The Employment Tribunal Judge will consider whether the existing Orders (which were automatically generated when the claim was issued) are appropriate in the circumstances, or whether they need to be updated and therefore a new timetable will be agreed.
It is fairly common for new Case Management Orders to be issued after a Preliminary Hearing. If this happens in your claim, you can now disregard the original orders and follow the latest set of Case Management Orders. For more information about Preliminary Hearing can be found on our website at https://lincslaw.co.uk/blog/what-is-a-preliminary-hearing-in-the-employment-tribunal/
Why Might One Of The Parties Want To Change A Case Management Order?
There are many reasons why the parties to the claim may want to change (also known as vary) the Case Management Orders set by the Employment Tribunal. There is no “right” or “wrong” reason.
A common reason for an application to vary a Case Management Order is because one of the parties has just instructed a solicitor and the solicitor needs more time to understand the position and take their client’s full instructions to best represent them.
It may be the first set of Case Management Orders required a task to be completed by a date a party is unavailable, for example, witness statements needed to be exchanged on a certain date and the Respondent has prior commitments which means they cannot comply with the Order.
How Do You Get A Case Management Order Changed?
To change a Case Management Order, you must make an application to the Employment Tribunal. There is no set application form, a letter will suffice.
If either party intends to make any application to the Employment Tribunal, it is considered best practice to inform the other party of the application and why it is necessary prior to actually making the application with the Employment Tribunal. When informing the other party, it is common to ask for a response by a set date (for example, within 14 days) after which you will send your application to the Employment Tribunal. This is to try and get the other side to agree before the application is made.
An application to vary a Case Management Order can be made at any time, however it should be made at the earliest opportunity. This means, as soon as you become aware you cannot comply with a Case Management Order, you should take action and inform the other party of your intention to make an application.
If necessary, an application can be made verbally at a Hearing. Otherwise, it is best to make an application in writing and send it to the Employment Tribunal and a copy to the other party.
In What Circumstances Will The Employment Tribunal Change The Orders?
The Employment Tribunal will agree to vary a Case Management Order when it considers it is necessary and in the interests of justice to do so.
When considering whether it is in the interests of justice to grant the application, the Employment Tribunal will look at the balance between the parties. For example, would allowing the application put the other party at a substantial disadvantage?
The Respondent Has Informed Me They Are Making An Application To Vary A Case Management Order. Do I Have To Agree?
It is likely the Respondent will have informed you they intend to make an application to the Employment Tribunal because they are seeking your consent to the application. It is far easier for both parties, and the Employment Tribunal, if everyone agrees to a change being made. This, however, does not mean you have to agree.
If you feel allowing the application would put you at a disadvantage or cause a significant delay in your claim being heard, you can object to the application.
How Do I Object To An Application?
If you disagree with the application, you need to inform the Respondent as soon as you are able. If the Respondent has written to you informing you of their intention to make the application, you should respond setting out your reasons for objecting to the application.
When the application is made to the Employment Tribunal, you must act quickly if you want to object. You have 7 days to put in your objections. Even if you have set out your objections to the Respondent, you must also send this to the Employment Tribunal once the application has been made. You should formally object to the application stating your reasons why you do not think the application should be successful.
What Happens When I Have Objected?
Largely, this depends on what the Respondent is seeking to change and how thorough their application is.
If the Employment Tribunal Judge considers enough information has been supplied by the Respondent (and you if you have put in an objection) they will review the documents carefully and make a decision based on the information provided.
If the Employment Tribunal Judge does not consider they have enough information, they will make a request for further information. If the application is complex, it may be the Employment Tribunal Judge decides it would be appropriate to request the parties attend a Hearing to discuss the application in more detail, prior to making a decision on the application.
Lincs Law Employment Solicitors Can Help
If you have Case Management Orders which you do not understand or cannot comply with, please contact us on 01522 440512 for a free initial telephone consultation. Alternatively, if you would like more information about the Employment Tribunal process, please visit our website at: https://lincslaw.co.uk/blog/the-employment-tribunal-process/
Managing Director, Specialist Employment Solicitor
Lincs Law Employment Solicitors