You’ve sent the ET1 form – please do not bend!!

Well normally the tribunal will send you notice of receipt with an information booklet on how to proceed. Following that the respondents legal representative will send a formal reply to your initial claim.Their reply is called an ET3 (form) keep the ET1 and the ET3 very safe, they will be used as the base source of referral in your claim and form the base of your claim.
From this point onwards, it is normal  and mostly neccessary that whatever correspondence you send to the tribunal you will also need to send to the respondents legal representative and vice versa. Don’t send anything else to the tribunal at this point unless they ask you to. Don’t forget to keep updating your communication log and keep all envelopes that you receive things in and this is why….
… After I agreed all documents with the respondents representative to complete a bundle, we agreed a time and date to exchange witness statements. The first bundle was sent to me in an envelope via recorded delivery.But after we exchanged witness statements and with only a few days before the final hearing, I receive another envelope in the post from the respondents legal representative but this one was not sent via recorded delivery.In this envelope another bundle of documents had been provided and all the documents that I had previously sent (in the first bundle which was considerably heavier than this new, second bundle) had been omitted – taken out. This meant that in actual fact most of documentated proof that I had included in the first bundle that had been agreed with the respondent, prior to the exchange of witness statements had been removed. Only two days before the hearing, I did not have the required time to battle this out as the respondents legal representative had put an ‘out of office’ message on their emails, consequently with a date of return being after the hearing date! How coincidental but yes I did go into panic.
But where there is truth there is often a silver lining. When  at the final hearing, I presented both bundles to the judges, one being some 200 pages more than the other, the one that was 200 pages more was the first bundle containing most of my evidence. The proof that I used in court to qualify the fact that the bundles had indeed been changed by the respondents legal representative, after the witness statements had been exchanged, was by also presenting the bundles to the judges with the big, brown envelopes that they were delivered to me in.As the second one was not sent via recorded delivery, (coincidentally) I had no proof of signature but the each envelope carried a stamp for the dates they were sent in alongside another stamp showing the weight of each envelope; both envelopes carried the same company franking stamp unique to the office that sent it. The one that showed a weight difference of nearly 300 grams more than the other one, was indeed the first envelope that  had a recorded delivery sticker on it, with the date of delivery and receipt clearly marked. So even a barrister and two solicitors can overlook the simplest of things, so make sure you don’t and keep all of your envelopes. Equally if you send something by mail, keep a proof of postage.Note: It is not normally considered good  practice to change the legal documentation contained within the bundle after witness statements have been exchanged. For obvious reasons – so keep all envelopes, you never know when you may need them!

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