Employment tribunals are to become the ‘last resort, not the first port of call’ after the government’s announcement today that it has accepted proposals in a fundamental review of procedure for tribunals.
The proposals accepted by the government include new strike-out powers for employment tribunal judges, more guidance from tribunal presidents to ensure greater consistency in the conduct of cases and a new procedure for preliminary hearings that will lead to faster disposal of cases, saving time and costs for all parties.
The proposals follow the government’s 2011 commissioning of former president of the employment appeal tribunal Mr Justice Underhill to lead a review. He drafted new rules of procedure for employment tribunals that the government consulted on before publishing the outcome of the review in July 2012.
The length of the legislation was cut in half, and the language simplified.
Employment relations minister Jo Swinson, Liberal Democrat MP for East Dunbartonshire, said today: ‘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.
‘Our efforts to review areas of employment law, and not just tribunals, are about making sure businesses can get on and grow, while employees have the necessary protections in place.’
The new rules of procedure are expected to come into force this summer.