Do I need a barrister to defend me at an industrial tribunal?

One of the recent search terms on my website (employment tribunals page) has been “do I need a barrister to defend me at an industrial tribunal”.  The simple answer is no you don’t need a barrister it’s whether you can afford one.  There are, however, other more cost effective options to consider.  You could always think about representing your employment tribunal case yourself.  This would be the most cost effective route in terms of finances, however, in terms of time it would be very expensive.  You will have to ensure you have your paperwork in order and that you adhere to the essential deadlines set by the employment tribunal office.  The process can be very lengthy and time consuming depending on the issues related to the case.
As an alternative if you don’t have the time you may like to instruct a solicitor to represent your employment tribunal case,  however, although this would be time effective the financial costs of using a solicitor could be very high as they often charge by the hour for their time.  You would also need to check that they have the experience of representing in court – some don’t. 
A more cost effective solution both in terms of your time and money would be to instruct an HR consultant experienced in the tribunal process with a demonstrable track record of undertaking employment tribunal work.  An HR consultant can often offer more flexible charging terms.  They should be able to coach you seamlessly through the process keeping you fully informed as to what is happening at each step, but not involving you until really necessary.  They should also be able to undertake the paperwork processing, liaison with the other parties, ACAS and the tribunal office, negotiation settlements then providing effective representation during the hearing if things go that far.