Digital claims, the delegation of authority to caseworkers and a
tailored composition of tribunal panels are just three of the
proposed reforms to Employment Tribunals.
On 23 February 2017, the government published its response to
the MoJ and BEIS's joint consultation aimed at simplifying and
speeding up the resolution of disputes. The consultation forms part
of a wider initiative to review the entire civil justice
The government confirmed its commitment to the digitisation of
claims, recognising that claims should be made and processed
online. Depending on the nature and complexity of the claim, some
cases would also be suitable for online decisions. Recognising the
inevitable risks of new IT systems creating unforeseen problems,
the reforms will take place over several years and digital
transformation will be the latter part of the programme.
The government also recognised the importance of providing
procedural flexibility to meet future challenges by supporting the
delegation of tasks to tribunal caseworkers who would be legally
"trained or qualified". Noting the concerns raised around
ensuring that only those matters suitable for delegation are, in
fact, delegated, the government expects that any delegation
implemented would follow further engagement between the Senior
President of Tribunals, the Employment Tribunal judiciary and
The government also intends to proceed with its proposal for the
Senior President of the Tribunals to have responsibility for
deciding the panel composition of the Employment Tribunal and the
Employment Appeal Tribunal. We will see a new Employment Judge and
a legal practitioner with specific experience of the Employment
Tribunal introduced to the Tribunal Procedure Committee. Obviously
these reforms will take some time to implement but the proposals
mark a long overdue overhaul of processes that have been in place
for a very long time. A move to modernise the more antiquated
systems can only be welcomed, as long as the appropriate level of
care is taken to ensure that the new processes work.
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In SSE Generation Limited v Hochtief Solutions AG and another decided on 21st December 2016, the Court of Session in Scotland considered a contractor's potential design liability under the NEC Form of Contract.
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