3 minutes

Tribunals decide a wide range of cases including appeals against decisions of Government departments. They hear about a million cases each year, more than any other part of the justice system. The geographical jurisdiction of tribunals varies – some extend to Scotland and/or Northern Ireland, as well as England and Wales.

The Finance & Tax Tribunal

The Finance & Tax Tribunal Data is released by the specialist Finance & Tax Tribunal who decide disputes in a particular area of law. Most tribunal jurisdictions are part of a structure created by the Courts and Enforcement Act 2007.

The Finance & Tax Tribunal receives appeals from individuals and organisations who want to appeal a decision made by a Tax and/or Finance arm of HRMC. These can be directed to specialist tribunals covering:

  • VAT – Penalties, Assessments and Avoidance
  • Special Commissioners
  • Customs Duties – Classifications, Tariffs and Quotas
  • Excise Duties – Gaming, Oil and Warehouse
  • Insurance Premium Tax
  • Landfill Tax

The Tribunal hearing

The appellant will then present their case to the tribunal, this could be conducted via a lawyer. The defending department will then be able to present their case against the appeal.

Both sides will usually be asked questions by:

  • the judge
  • the appellant/defendant
  • two other tribunal members (only in certain cases)

Employment Tribunals

The Employment Tribunals receive appeals from individuals who want to resolve a dispute with their employer. The most common disputes tend to be concerned with:

  • Unfair dismissal
  • Discrimination
  • Unfair deductions from pay

An Employment Tribunal will hear claims brought within three months for incidents related to statutory breaches. The statutory breaches are defined in law under several acts as listed below.

Incidents related to the Employment Rights Act 1996, covering:

  • Unfair dismissal
  • Unlawful wage deductions or required payments to employers
  • Disputes regarding contracts of employment
  • Disputes related to pay statements
  • Breaches of the National Minimum Wage
  • Disputes regarding time off for public duty such as jury service
  • Maternity, paternity, and adoption issues relating to leave and pay

Breaches under the Equality Act 2010, these include:

  • claims of breach of equality
  • failure to provide equality of terms in employment
  • a case referred by another court

Breached related to Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 including:

  • Unfair dismissal and any other issues related to trade union membership or for participation in an industrial action
  • Offering of inducements not to join a trade union or opt-out from collective bargaining agreements
  • Blacklisting for being a member of a union
  • Issues related to time taken for union duties
  • Failure to consult a recognised union or representative organisation over a proposed redundancy or over changes to training schemes
  • Disputes over membership of a union including disciplinary action or expulsion of members

Employment Tribunals can also take action under the following statutes:

Making a claim

The employee bringing the claim must tell the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) that they intend to make a claim to the tribunal. This will give the two parties the chance to settle their dispute before going to court by using Acas’s free ‘Early Conciliation’ service.

If early conciliation does not work, then a claim may proceed to court.