Can you get an Extension to submit your ET3

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Why ask for an Extension?

When a Company is issued with an ET1 form (claim form), there is a 28-day deadline for the ET3 (the claim form response) to be submitted. The deadline does need to be met, or this may impact tribunal proceedings further down the line. However, there will be occasions where it is not possible to meet this deadline, and an extension application will need to be made.
For example, an extension may be needed if an individual that is important to the claim is away on annual leave or extra time is required to gather evidence for the response because the claim is particularly complicated. 

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How to Request an ET3 Extension

  • A request for an extension must be a written application;
  • Set out the reasons the extension is required;
  • Include a draft ET3 response;
  • Send a copy of the letter to the claimant/or their representative;
  • An Employment Judge can consider the application without a hearing.

A letter detailing the reason for the extension application is sent to the Claimant so that they are aware why an ET3 has not yet been sent to them. Within seven days of receiving this letter, the Claimant has the right to make a written response opposing the application.

This will need to give details of why the extension should not be granted and respond to the points that have been made in the Company‚Äôs application. 

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Opposing the Claimants Application

A Tribunal will only grant an application if it is fair to do so. Therefore, a Claimant will likely oppose a deadline extension request if it looks like a Company is just trying to buy extra time, or the reasons for the application are not accurate.

However, if the Claimant is opposing the application, the extension may still be granted.

A consideration of the Tribunal is if the draft response from the Company has a particularly strong defence but extra time is required because the situation is complicated.

When an ET1 has been received, it is important to act as quickly as possible. This will give ample time to create a detailed and accurate ET3 response to the claim. It is crucial that an application for a deadline extension not be made simply because it has been forgotten about or unreasonably delayed. This is because the grant of an extension is on a purely discretionary basis by the Judge.

When drafting the response to go with the application, make sure both documents contain information that is accurate. It is essential that the reasons for the application are factual and cannot be construed as mere excuses for not meeting the 28-day deadline as the Claimant could fairly oppose the application.

Therefore, when making the application for a deadline extension take into account the following;

  • Include a draft ET3 response so that the Judge can see the strength of your defence;
  • Keep the reasons for the application factual as any details that are inaccurate may affect the extension being granted.

About the author

James Rowland

Account Services


James is on the Business Development & Account Management team at Neathouse Partners and regularly posts articles surrounding issues in HR & Employment Law, including case law & legislation updates. If you have a particular issue you would like addressed, feel free to drop James an email, and he will be happy to offer his assistance.

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