HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) have announced that they are experiencing technical difficulties with the online submission service used for filing claims in the employment tribunal.

The fault has made it impossible to submit an employment claim online.

The HCMTS are working hard to rectify the matter, but it is not yet known when the issues will be fixed.

On the 8th of September, 2023, Judge Barry Clarke, the President of Employment Tribunals (England and Wales), issued guidance on the problems.

He admitted to being unsure of when the issues would be fixed, and, in the meantime, he therefore set out the alternative ways that employment claims may be filed.

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Alternative methods for the presentation of a claim

The Practice Direction on the Presentation of Claims sets out the only methods by which a completed claim form may be presented.

Please see the following link to the relevant Practice Direction: Practice Direction - Presentation of Claims 

Due to the technical issues with the online submission service, the only two ways in which a claim can be submitted to the Employment Tribunals in England and Wales are as follows:

  • By post, to Employment Tribunal Central Office (England & Wales), PO Box 10218, Leicester, LE1 8EG; or
  • By hand, to an Employment Tribunal Office as listed in the schedule to the Practice Direction.

Please note that the Practice Direction does not permit claims to be presented by email to a regional office.

If the claim is submitted by post, the document will be deemed to have been received on the day that it would have been delivered in the ordinary course of post.

In Consignia pls v Sealy [2002] EWCA Civ 878, the EAT held that the “ordinary course of post” rule deems service to have taken place on the second day after first class posting, excluding Sundays, public holidays, Christmas Day and Good Friday (it therefore includes Saturdays).

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Practical Recommendations

In his guidance note, Judge Barry Clarke recommended that the following steps should be taken by any claimant approaching the expiry of a limitation period for presenting a claim to the employment tribunal:

  • Take a screenshot of the error message generated by the online submission service (showing its time) and;
  • A printed copy of the screenshot should accompany the posted or hand-delivered ET1, alongside any other evidence that may demonstrate when a party attempted unsuccessfully to present a claim.

Please note that this is only necessary where a claimant considers that there is a risk of missing the deadline for presenting a claim.

This serves as a useful reminder to claimants to ensure that they are well aware of any limitation periods that may be applicable to their claim and that the claim is submitted in ample time.

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If you would like to discuss any of the issues in this article, don't hesitate to contact our Employment Law experts on:

0161 941 4000