If you feel an employment tribunal has made the wrong decision in your case, you can take steps to appeal via the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) under certain circumstances.
When to appeal to EAT
The first step is to seek the advice of the tribunal that provided the decision; write to them within 14 days of the decision being made. An appeal to the EAT can only be made if there has been a legal mistake, and it is vital that you understand the reasoning behind the decision. The EAT will review matters where:
- The law was applied incorrectly,
- The wrong law was applied,
- The decision is unjustly biased to one party, or
- There was no evidence to support the decision.
There is a deadline for making an appeal which you need to bear in mind. There are 42 days in which to bring your appeal. The start-date of the countdown of those 42 days varies, and depends on the approach you take:
1. If you start the process upon receipt of the tribunal's decision, the 42-day countdown starts when you receive that decision.
2. If you have made a request to the tribunal for more details, you are allowed additional time for the details to arrive with you. If no reply is forthcoming the countdown will start 14 days after you asked the tribunal for its reasons.
How to appeal
You must complete a Notice of Appeal Form, which needs to detail the case and have your supporting evidence attached. It is advisable to read the EAT Rules and Guidance prior to completing the form. The form can be filed by post, fax or email with a fee payable of £400. A further £1,200 needs to be paid if the matter progresses to a final hearing. You cannot claim any expenses associated with attending the EAT.
On receipt of the Notice, the EAT will review the case and determine if the case can go ahead. If you have a valid appeal the case may be diarized for a hearing, or if the decision is viewed to be correct, the EAT will not hear an appeal. In either case you will be informed in writing of the next steps.
Addresses and advice on the completion of the form can be found at the Gov.uk website.
A hearing date is set
The hearing date is usually set around your availability, but in some you are given 14 days’ notice. You will be told what documents to bring and it is advisable to seek legal advice to ensure you are fully compliant with the directions of the EAT. You may be able to get free legal advice immediately before the hearing.
You will be asked to present your case to the EAT and if you wish, you can attend with representation. You will be asked various questions, with the other party also having the option of presenting their case. You will either be told the outcome of the hearing on the day or in writing afterwards.
If you lose the appeal
You can appeal to a higher court (which in these circumstances is the Court of Appeal) if you feel the EAT has made the wrong decision. To do this you need to seek permission of either the EAT or the court.
You must apply for permission to appeal from the EAT within 7 days of the decision. Or if you are seeking the permission of the Court of Appeal you have 21 days from the date of decision, or refusal of permission by the EAT to apply to appeal.
Considering that appealing a loss at the EAT is a costly and lengthy process, it may not be worth it given the circumstances of the case. As with all disputes to it is key seek legal advice if you wish to make an appeal are or if you are unsure of your options.