The parties can agree how to solve a complaint and bring the process to an end. The legal term is "settlement".
Advantages of trying to settle a complaint:
- You decide the outcome. You only settle for what you feel is acceptable.
- A settlement brings the dispute to an end so you can put the complaint behind you and move on.
- Settlement is usually much faster, with less steps than the hearing process.
- Settlement talks are confidential. No one can use what you said or offers you make against you if the complaint continues. The legal term is that the talks are “without prejudice”.
- The parties can agree that the terms of the settlement are confidential.
- Sometimes parties clarify misunderstandings. They can find creative solutions. They can agree on a solution that the Tribunal cannot order, like an apology.
- There is little downside to trying to settle a complaint. You only settle if you agree on how to resolve the complaint. If you do not settle, the complaint process continues.
Things to consider:
- How important is it to you to have a Tribunal decision about the complaint?
- How important is it to you to try to achieve your “best case scenario”?
- For a complainant, that might be winning at a hearing and the Tribunal ordering a remedy.
- For a respondent, that might be the Tribunal finding they did not discriminate.
- Have you thought about both your “best case” and “worst case” scenarios?
- Are you comfortable with the uncertainty about letting the Tribunal decide the complaint?
- How important is it to you to have an early resolution?
- The Tribunal process includes:
- Exchanging documents and witness lists
- In some cases, an application to dismiss the complaint without a hearing
- A hearing. Hearings are 3 days on average. You organize your documents and witnesses. You give evidence and get cross-examined. You explain how the law applies to the case.
- A decision. This may take several months after a hearing.