Judicial mediation at an employment tribunal

If you’re taking a claim to an employment tribunal, you may be offered judicial mediation.

Judicial mediation gives you the option of reaching a settlement with an employer confidentially, without the need for a full hearing.

Benefits of judicial mediation

Judicial mediation can save you time and money. A full hearing takes longer and will be more expensive.

In judicial mediation, the facts of the case will be discussed in private, not in a public court. This can be useful if you want to continue working for the employer or if you feel that discussing the issues in a public court could damage your career.

Judicial mediation process

The first step in the employment tribunal process is the case management discussion.

An employment judge will look at your case and decide if it’s suitable for mediation. If it is, they’ll offer you and the employer that option.

Judicial mediation is entirely voluntary. If you or the employer do not agree to it, the case will continue to a full hearing instead.

If you agree to mediation but decide later you do not want to continue, you can withdraw at any time and the case will continue to a full hearing instead. The employer – or their representative – can also choose to withdraw.

Your solicitor can help you decide if judicial mediation is right for you.

To find a solicitor who specialises in employment law, visit our Find a Solicitor website and search under 'Employment'.

If the judicial mediation goes ahead, you and a representative from the employer must attend the meeting. You can take your solicitor with you, but you’ll need to pay them for this. If you do not want to pay, you can take someone else to support you, such as a friend or colleague.

An employment judge will act as the impartial mediator. Normally they’ll start by speaking to you and the employer’s representative together. Then you’ll go to separate tribunal rooms and the judge will speak to each of you separately, then relay the information to the other side.

They’ll assess what each side is saying and establish the issues you both need to resolve. They’ll help the two sides move towards a solution they can both agree on.

Cost of judicial mediation

Judicial mediation is free.

You will, however, have to pay your own costs (for example if you want your solicitor to go to the judicial mediation with you).

How long it takes

The mediation meeting is usually scheduled to last one day. It may occasionally be scheduled to take two days.

If you reach a settlement

If you and the employer reach a settlement through judicial mediation, you’ll agree the terms in writing. Any agreement is legally binding.

You might do this by:

A settlement agreement is usually a long document drafted by the employer’s lawyer that settles more than one claim you’ve made against the employer.

A COT3 form is usually a shorter document that settles a particular complaint. It can only be used if Acas has been involved in your case so far.

Citizens Advice has more information about reaching a settlement with your employer.

If you do not reach a settlement

If you and the employer do not reach a settlement, the case will continue to a full hearing.

The employment judge who was involved in your mediation will not be allowed to take part in any tribunal hearing that follows.

You and the employer’s representative cannot refer to anything that happened or was said at mediation in any tribunal hearing that follows.

Read more about employment tribunals


Find a Solicitor – database of regulated solicitors in England and Wales

Judicial mediation at employment tribunals in England and Wales – GOV.UK guidance