You do not need to be a practicing solicitor in order to give Employment Law Advice or to represent at the Industrial Tribunal or Fair Employment Tribunal.
Northern Ireland is a common law jurisdiction which means that, historically, law was developed through case-law rather than through legislation. Common law is still very important for employment law.
You must have knowledge of the main employments rights given to a person by legislation and how these rights are enforced before you can endeavour to provide basic employment advice.
Industrial tribunals are the principal venue for adjudicating on disputes in employment law. The aim of setting up the tribunal system was to provide an informal venue where decisions could be quickly granted and each party could be represented in person.
However, the increase in statutory rights created by domestic and EC legislation has meant that the law governing the employment relationship has become more complex. This has made it difficult in practice for a person to effectively present a case without legal representation.