How do I make a claim to an employment tribunal?

The first step, in all tribunal claims is to submit an Acas Early Conciliation Notification Form. This step is compulsory. More information on Acas early conciliation. It is not possible to bring a tribunal claim without an Early Conciliation Certificate reference number from Acas. The only exception is a claim for interim relief.

If Acas early conciliation fails (or if, after submitting your Acas Early Conciliation Notification Form, you decide that you do not want to participate in the conciliation process), Acas will supply an Acas Early Conciliation Certificate reference number. You will need this in order to be able to move to the next stage – completion of your claim form, known as Form ET1. You can get a copy of Form ET1 from a Jobcentre, Acas, your union, a local advice agency or the regional or national employment tribunal offices. It is also possible to make a claim using Form ET1 online.

There is no longer a fee to access an employment tribunal, as of July 2017, when a union-backed case at the Supreme Court ruled charging for access to tribunals was unlawful. You will no longer need to pay a fee up front or seek "help with fees" as had previously been the case.

Citizens Advice or Law Centres may be able to give you free assistance with filling out the form, and general advice on your claim. However, they are unlikely to represent you at the tribunal. Unions will normally be able to provide representation to existing members if they judge a claim likely to succeed.

Once you have submitted the ET1 claim form, you will become known as the 'Claimant' and your employer (or ex-employer) will be known as the 'Respondent'. You will be allocated a claim number. You can find directions explaining how to start a tribunal claim on the Gov.uk website: Make a claim to an employment tribunal. You can find information to help you work your way through the process on the Citizens Advice website: About starting an employment tribunal claim.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.