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Application to Postpone or Adjourn a hearing

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Postponement and Adjournment

During your case, there may be occasions where either you or your employer cannot attend or continue with a hearing on the date it has been scheduled for (listed). It could be a preliminary hearing or final hearing. In such a situation, you or your employer can ask the tribunal to select another suitable date for that hearing. An adjournment is changing the date of a hearing that has already started, for example you have a five day hearing and you have attended two days and you want to change the date for the remaining three. If you have been given a hearing date, but the hearing has not started and you want to change the date, you apply for a postponement so that you can get another start date. This is called re-listing. The Employment Judge can order an adjournment or postponement under Rule 29 of the Employment Tribunal Rules. You or your employer can make an application for adjournment or postponement under Rule 30 of the Employment Tribunal Rules. Postponement will be used for both types in the rest of this guide.

Your Application

You can make an oral application for postponement, but its best made in writing. Use the template that accompanies this guide. Think carefully before you make the application, because the Tribunal may grant it AND hit you with costs. Its a good idea to get the other side to agree to the postponement BEFORE you make your application, although this is no guarantee that your application will be granted.

The Relevant Employment Tribunal Rules and Presidential Guidance are;

If you don’t meet the requirements in Rule 30A and the Guidance, it is likely that your application will not be granted unless there are exceptional circumstances. You should give an explanation as to why you have not been able to comply with the requirements as part of your application.

Take a look at the Presidential Guidance – General Case Management (Guidance Note 5) to understand how the Tribunal Time Tables cases.


Rule 30A

You should make your application to the Tribunal and copy in the other side as soon as possible, after the need for the postponement arises.

If you make your application less than 7 days before the date on which the hearing begins, the Tribunal may only order the postponement in the following circumstances;

  1. if the other side agrees to the postponement
  2. it is practicable and appropriate so that you and your employer can try to resolve your  dispute by agreement;
  3. it is in accordance with the overriding objective;
  4. the application is necessary because of something a party or the Tribunal did or did not do
  5. there are exceptional circumstances (this includes ill health relating to an existing long term health condition or disability)

If the Tribunal has granted you two or more postponements of a hearing and you make an application for another postponement, the Tribunal may only order that postponement n the following circumstances;

  1. it is practicable and appropriate so that you and your employer can try to resolve your  dispute by agreement;
  2. it is in accordance with the overriding objective;
  3. the application is necessary because of something a party or the Tribunal did or did not do
  4. there are exceptional circumstances.


What to include in your application

An application for a postponement of a final hearing, a pre-hearing review or any other hearing should contain the following;

  • State the specific reasons for applying for the postponement;
  • Explain why you believe it would be in accordance with the Overriding Objective for the tribunal to grant the postponement. The Overriding Objective is a rule that the Employment Judge Tribunal must take into account. It is in Rule 2 of the Employment Tribunal Rules.  
  • Confirm if you have discussed your application with the other side, and whether or not they agree. In any case you must copy the other side into your application, and let them know that any objection to your application should be sent to the tribunal as soon as possible;
  • Attach your supporting documents.

Use the template Application to Postpone or Adjourn 


Examples of Supporting Documents


You have medical groundsA medical certificate explaining the nature of the health condition and a statement from your  GP or other relevant medical practitioner confirming that you are not well enough to attend.

Your or your witness cannot attend Explain the reason for your unavailability and what alternative arrangements you have tried to make. If it is your witness who cannot attend, say why their evidence is relevant to your case and add any supporting documents.

Your representative cannot attendExplain the reason for the unavailability, what attempts have been made to make alternative arrangements. If your representative has withdrawn from representing you, give details about when this happened and whether you have found or are still looking for alternative representation.

You have an appeal pendingIf you have an appeal in the same case to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) or another court,  provide details of the dates of the appeal hearing and what you are appealing about. If its other court proceedings (civil or criminal), then  give details about when these proceedings started, what they are about, and how they will affect your Employment Tribunal case.

The other side has not disclosed requested documents or disclosed them too late

Tell the tribunal about the documents or information concerned.

State how they are relevant to your case;

Add a copy of any orders that have already been made by the tribunal about the information or documents

Add a copy of any requests that you have made to the other side, and their response.

You don’t think there is enough time allocated to complete the hearingTell the Tribunal why you believe there is insufficient time to complete the hearing (for example because of the number of witnesses, or the volume of documents in the case).

See also  Presidential Guidance – Seeking a Postponement of a Hearing and Presidential Guidance – General Case Management 

Last Updated: [05/12/2021]