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Employment Appeals Tribunal

Appeals against decisions of the Employment Tribunal are heard by the Employment Appeals tribunal. This appeal court has hearing centres in London and Edinburgh.

The powers and rules of the Employment Appeal Tribunal are set out in statute and regulations. In addition the President of the appeals tribunal has issued practice directions on the procedures to be followed in the appeals tribunal.

Effectively the Employment Appeals Tribunal is part of the High Court. However, unlike the main High court the decisions of the Employment Appeal Tribunal are usually made by a panel of three. The hearing is chaired by a High Court or circuit Judge, and two lay members – who are selected on the basis of their experience in employment matters. Government proposals include the removal of the need for the lay members in the Employment Appeals Tribunal, so in the future it is likely that the hearings will be handled by a single judge.

Following the rules on precedence, any decision of the Employment Appeals Tribunal is binding on the employment Tribunal. Similarly in England & Wales any decision of the Court of Appeal is binding on the Employment Appeals Tribunal. Confusion can occur when there are contradictory decisions of the Employment Appeals Tribunal!

The Employment Appeals Tribunal has limited powers on appeal. In order for it to be able to hear the appeal there must be an error of law identified in the decision of the employment tribunal that heard the case in the first instance. This means that just because one party to the case is unhappy with the decision of the employment tribunal, or feels the decision was unfair, does not provide the basis of an appeal. The appeals tribunal examines the appeal applications very carefully, to see if there really is a point of law being argued before allowing the appeal to proceed. Appeals to the appeals tribunal must be commenced by submitting a Notice of Appeal in a prescribed form to the appeals tribunal within 42 days from the date on which the written reasons were sent to parties see the Employment Appeal Tribunal’s own website for full details, and rules of procedure (link to EAT website).


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