I heard from a former colleague the other day – we used to work together within the tribunals service and were much involved with training of new entrants.  At that time it was relatively easy to make a claim to the employment tribunal;  the claimant would get the ‘how to make a claim’ booklet and go from there. The better claims were served by legal representatives or union officials though.  It’s true to say that although the idea of tribunals was to make access to the law much easier and less intimidating, the fact that so many employers or respondents, are legally covered, and send out threatening letters to the claimant to put them off.  However, claimants standing their ground can present very good cases especially with a little advice up front.  Whenever we were asked the question of whether they had a case, we had to cut them short immediately because we were case officers with no legal training.  My initial response would be, ask the party if they were part of a union; did they have legal cover within any comprehensive household insurance and if so, did it cover employment.  It’s amazing how many folk had no idea they could get this sort of help.