Employment tribunal process in shake-up to make it easier to navigate

New rules have been announced in an attempt to streamline the employment tribunal process to make tribunals more efficient and easier to understand.

In November 2011, the government commissioned Mr Justice Underhill, former president of the Employment Appeal Tribunal, to lead a fundamental review of the rules of procedure for employment tribunals.

In its response, the government has set out plans to streamline the tribunal process and make it easier for parties to navigate.

The proposals the government has accepted include powers to ensure that weak cases that should not proceed to full hearing are halted at the earliest possible opportunity.

It will also be made easier to withdraw and dismiss claims by cutting the amount of paperwork required.

Additionally, there will be a new procedure for preliminary hearings that combines separate pre-hearing reviews and case management discussions, which is hoped to reduce the overall number of hearings and lead to a quicker disposal of cases saving time and costs for all parties.

Employment Relations Minister Jo Swinson says, ‘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 set out today will help all parties understand what the process involves and what to expect. 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.’

Swinson adds that the UK has one of the most flexible labour markets in the world.

‘Our efforts to review of areas of employment law not just tribunals are about making sure business can get on and grow, while employees have the necessary protections in place. ‘It is expected that the new rules will come into force this summer.

The government is also publishing an update report Employment Law 2013: Progress on Reform, which sets out its vision of a flexible, efficient and fair labour market. The report outlines key achievements to date and looks ahead to future work on the government’s Employment Law Review.

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of SmallBusiness.co.uk from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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Employment Rights