The last week has seen the release of two reports that could
have a very significant impact on the shape of employment tribunals
in years to come.
Review of Employment Tribunal Rules Published
Mr Justice Underhill has published the findings of his review of
the employment tribunal rules and procedures.
The former President of the Employment Appeals Tribunal was
asked to carry out the review in response to the Government's
consultation on Resolving Workplace Disputes. His key
Implementation of a new set of rules: the current rules have
been completely re-drafted to create a simpler, consolidated set of
rules which will be more easily understood by all parties.
Introduction of a sifting stage: once the claim and response
has been received, an employment judge will review the claim to
consider directions and to consider strike-out of aspects lacking a
reasonable prospect of success.
Preliminary hearings: case management discussions and
pre-hearing reviews will be combined into a renamed preliminary
Revised ET1 and ET3: the forms have been redrafted but have not
yet been made public.
Presidential Guidance: the President of the Tribunal will issue
guidance on matters of practice and procedure, with the aim of
giving all tribunal users a clearer picture of what to expect.
However, the guidance will not be prescriptive and is not intended
to harmonise practice between England and Wales and Scotland.
Timetables: tribunals will have the power to set and enforce
timetables for oral evidence and submissions.
Withdrawals: a respondent will no longer need to apply to have
a claim dismissed where it has been withdrawn by the
Norman Lamb, the Employment Relations Minister, commented
"Mr Justice Underhill has made a number of sensible, well
thought of recommendations which we will consider", adding
that the Government will announce its intentions "in due
Consultation on the introduction of fees in employment
At present, there is no "lodging-fee" required of a
claimant who brings a claim to the employment tribunal. In early
2011 the Government announced its intention to start charging fees
and launched a consultation paper to seek views on possible fee
structures. The Ministry of Justice has now published the results
of this consultation and proposes that from summer 2013 claimants
will be charged fees ranging from £160 to issue a
straightforward claim to £950 to run a hearing of a more
The response paper acknowledges that these fees will not cover
the total cost of taking a claim to the employment tribunal, but it
is hoped that the introduction of fees will incentivise early
resolution of disputes and encourage employers and workers to
mediate, rather than proceed to a full hearing. The
Government funded Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service
(ACAS) will continue to provide a free dispute resolution service,
with tribunals serving as a last resort for the more complex
Although the claimant will in most cases be expected to pay any
fees in advance of raising a claim, many claimants on low incomes
will be exempt from the fees and the tribunal will have the power
to order the unsuccessful party to reimburse the fees to the
For the full response to the consultation please click here.
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