If you bring an employment tribunal claim, or are a respondent to one, at some point in the litigation you will reach the disclosure of documents stage. In the employment tribunal, this will be before the exchange of witness statements.

There is a “cards on the table” stance taken in employment litigation. By that we mean that each party, the claimant and the defendant, both have to give each other relevant documents that help their case or harm their case. These can be all manner of documents which the party has created or entitled to possession, such as text messages, instant messaging systems (whatsapp, slack etc). For the company then, this can involve a large number of documents.  Naturally, this requires good faith and honesty on the part of each party.

One exception are documents passing between the parties’ legal advisers. They are not subject to this rule as they are deemed “privileged” documents. The full technical term is “legal professional privilege”. The claimant cannot, for instance, demand to see the advice from the respondent’s solicitor.

There are some very limited exceptions to this rule. In a recent case the employment team at Branch Austin McCormick were able to obtain a legally privileged document from the opponent.


If you have are a claimant or a respondent to an employment tribunal claim and want to obtain your employer’s documents through disclosure, contact our employment team at: eh@branchaustinmccormick.com or via https://www.branchaustinmccormick.com/contact-us/

Branch Austin McCormick LLP
32 St James’s Street