New measures to improve and simplify employment tribunals
The Government has announced new measures designed to simplify and improve the employment tribunal system.
The move follows concerns from employers that tribunal cases are both expensive and time-consuming for them.
The proposals include:
- new strike out powers to ensure that weak cases that should not proceed to full hearing are halted at the earliest possible opportunity;
- guidance from the Employment Tribunal presidents to help ensure that judges deal with hearings in a consistent manner which ensures parties know what to expect;
- making it easier to withdraw and dismiss claims by cutting the amount of paper work required;
- a new procedure for preliminary hearings that combines separate pre-hearing reviews and case management discussions. This will reduce the overall number of hearings and lead to a quicker disposal of cases saving time and costs for all parties.
Employment Minister Jo Swinson said: “Employment Tribunals are costly in terms of time, money and stress for everyone and they should always be the last resort, not the first port of call.
“We are committed to finding ways to resolve workplace disputes so they don’t end up with two sides in front of a tribunal. The proposals will help all parties understand what the process involves and what to expect.”
The new rules are expected to come into effect in the summer.
Official figures show that there were 186,300 Employment Tribunals cases between April 2011 and March 2012. It is estimated that employers face average costs of £3,900 and each case costs the tax payer £1,900.
Please contact Robert Bedford about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of employment law.