Bringing a case against your employer - Try our case 'Limitation Date' Calculator !

tribunal limitation date employment law checker

When dealing with any kind of employment matter, it is important to know the limitation date.

By limitation date we mean the last day on which your case can be issued to the Employment Tribunal.  If the limitation date is missed, the Employment Tribunal is entitled, and it usually will, strike out any of the claims that have been issued after the limitation date expired. As a result, it is really important to be able to calculate the limitation date accurately.

To start from the beginning, most employment claims are subject to a limitation of three months minus one day from either the date of the dismissal, date you last worked for the employer or the date of the last act of discrimination which you have been subjected to (i.e age, race, sex, pregnancy or disability).  It is important to consider what claims you may be presenting to avoid missing any deadlines, for example if you have a claim that the last act of discrimination falls differently to the date you were dismissed, you may need to engage in two separate Early Conciliation processes and Claims.  The tribunal does have the discretion to permit claims which have not been presented within time or if there are extenuating circumstances so please do get in touch even if you are out of time.

Looking at a dismissal-only case:

Jeff is dismissed on 6 April, and he feels that his dismissal was unfair, so he wants to pursue a claim of unfair dismissal. Initially, Jeff has until 11.59pm on 5 July to start his case.

Now, we say ‘start his case’ because the first stage of an employment claim is to enter early conciliation, not to issue it to the Employment Tribunal. Early conciliation is a service provided by Acas, and you can find out more information here. So, let’s say Jeff starts early conciliation on 6 May. Jeff and his employer, with the assistance of the conciliator, try to come to a resolution but they are unable to at this early stage. Acas then issues the early conciliation certificate six weeks — the maximum length of time that early conciliation can last — after 6 May to signify that the process has come to an end. Jeff therefore receives his certificate on 17 June.

As Jeff has completed his early conciliation period, he gets an extension to his limitation date. Calculating the length of this extension tends to be the most complicated part of this. It might help to break it down into steps:

  1. First, Jeff needs to know when his ‘initial limitation’ was, i.e., when his limitation expired before he started early conciliation. As above, we know that this is 5 July.

  2. Second, Jeff needs to know when he received his early conciliation certificate. We know that this was on 17 June.

  3. Third, Jeff needs to determine whether he received his certificate before or after his initial limitation. We know that Jeff received his certificate before his initial limitation, i.e., 17 June is before 5 July.

  4. Fourth, as Jeff received his certificate before his initial limitation, he should add the length of time in days that his case was in early conciliation to his initial limitation. Six weeks is 42 days, so Jeff needs to look at a calendar and count 42 days from 5 July. If he does that, he will find out his actual limitation, which is 16 August.

Now, it is possible that Jeff could receive his early conciliation certificate after his initial limitation. For example, using the above example, if Jeff contacted Acas to start early conciliation on 1 July and the process lasted the six-week maximum, he would receive his certificate on 12 August. This is well outside his initial limitation. As the example is the same, we can follow the steps above and skip to step four:

  1. Fourth, as Jeff received his certificate after his initial limitation, he should add one calendar month to the date on which he received his certificate. One calendar month after 12 August is 12 September. This is Jeff’s actual limitation.

Understandably, figuring out these dates can be time-consuming (even with this helpful guide!) so we have put together a 2021 calculator that you can use to help you find out your limitation date.

Try the Lawson-West Solicitors Tribunal Limitation Date Calculator, click on the buttons below:

Time Limit Calculator

Initial Limitation:


Please bear in mind that this calculator is provided for your information and the dates provided on it are not intended to constitute legal advice.  We do not guarantee that any dates provided are accurate as each case can differ.

Employment Team solicitors August 2023 Lawson-West Solicitors
If you want to ensure that your limitation has been correctly calculated, please contact one of our employment lawyers for further advice on 01162121000 or 01858445480.