Not too much has been said about these perhaps because the content of the forms does not differ greatly from the content of the old forms. The information is though presented differently and the intention seems to have been to make the forms easier to understand.
One important difference, which reflects the fact that tribunal fees were introduced on 29 July, is that an additional form must now be submitted with the ET1 form if it is being submitted by post (as opposed to online). This form requires a Claimant to state whether a single claim is being made or if a claim is being made on behalf of more than one person. The reason for this is that where there are multiple Claimants the fee payable will depend upon the actual number of Claimants. The Claimant is also required to indicate on this form whether they are claiming a fee remission or not. Lastly the form requires the type of claim to be identified by the Claimant as this will also affect the level of fee which will be payable. Those claims which are classed as Type A claims will attract a lower fee than those which are classed as Type B claims. Unfair dismissal claims and discrimination claims both fall into the latter category.
Apart from this additional form the differences between the old and new ET1 forms are minimal. Both contain a section asking the Claimant to state what compensation or remedy they are seeking. However, whereas the old form stated that completing this section was optional but may help, the new form does not use this wording and instead states that as much detail as possible should be given if financial compensation is being claimed.
A further difference is that the new ET1 form contains an additional section to complete if the Respondent was not the Claimant's employer. Such cases will be fairly rare but may arise for example if the Claimant is arguing that the Respondent discriminated against them during a recruitment exercise and they were not hired. There is still a section for the Claimant to indicate what they would like in the event they are successful but a Claimant can now indicate, in discrimination cases, if they would like the Tribunal to make a recommendation. Such recommendations can cover the steps that the Respondent should take to reduce the adverse effect of the discrimination on the claimant. The Tribunal can also, at the present time, make recommendations for the benefit of the wider workforce and not just the particular claimant (albeit this wider power is to be abolished next year). A further small difference is that in the section where the Claimant's representative's details are provided, there is now a space for their DX and fax numbers to be inserted. Finally, at the end of the ET1 form the Claimant must confirm that they have either enclosed the appropriate fee or an application for remission of the fee.
The changes to the new ET3 form are minimal. The Respondent is no longer asked to explain what the employer's organisation normally does. Also the ET3 form now asks the Respondent to state whether they have a disability and to explain if any assistance will be required to allow the claim to progress. Previously only the Claimant was asked to provide this information. Probably the most notable difference between the old and new ET3 forms is that the latter has a new section which must be completed if the Respondent is making an Employer's contract claim in response to the Claimant's contract claim. This can only be used where the Claimant is arguing that the Respondent has breached the contract of employment and allows the Respondent to counter claim against the Claimant if the Respondent alleges that the Claimant is in breach of contract.
See also our guide on Making an employment tribunal claim