The government has said it will bring forward measures to reform the employment tribunal system ‘as soon as parliamentary time allows’, after publishing the outcome of a consultation on the plans.
Changes to the Employment Tribunals Act 1996 ’will bring the employment tribunal system in line with the flexibility of the rest of the unified tribunals system, while preserving its unique strengths’, said a statement from the Ministry of Justice and Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Uniquely among the tribunals managed by HM Courts & Tribunals Service, the business secretary is responsible for policy and legislation on procedural matters in employment tribunals.
The proposals include digitising the claims procedure so that claims are lodged and processed online, and communications between individuals and the tribunal are made electronically.
This review did not encompass the controversial introduction of tribunal fees. The government is consulting separately on proposals for an adjustment to the Help with Fees scheme to extend the scope of support available to people on lower incomes.
The Law Society has stressed that any reform of the structure of employment tribunals should be accompanied by a reversal of fees, which were introduced in 2013 and have contributed to a slump in claims.
A four-year legal battle against fees pitting trade union Unison against the lord chancellor reached the Supreme Court at the end of last month.