The Government is introducing changes that they say will streamline the employment tribunal process. Jo Swinson, the employment relations minister, has announced that changes will make the tribunal process easier for employers to understand and will ensure that the whole process is not only more efficient but will also get rid of weak claims. She went on to say that a tribunal should be a last resort and not a first port of call and that the government is committed to finding ways to prevent the two parties from coming together in front of a tribunal except where absolutely necessary.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal
In November 2011, Mr Justice Underhill, the former president of the Employment Appeal Tribunal was commissioned by the government to review the rules of the industrial tribunal process. They hoped to find ways to improve the whole process as a means of making the labour marketing even more flexible. Similar reviews were requested across numerous industries and bodies and the government has responded to the review publishing new rules to help deliver these improvements.
A Strike Out Rule
One of the new changes that the government backs is a strike out rule. Many cases brought to tribunal are considered weak and with little or no grounding to them. The strike out rule would enable such cases to be halted at the earliest opportunity. This could benefit the tribunal process, cost less money, and remove the uncertainty and worry that businesses find themselves under when they are taken to tribunal by an employee or former employee.
Clearing Up The Process
A particular criticism of the existing process is that it is complex and unpredictable, leading many parties to not really know what to expect. The government changes means that guidelines would be put in place and a more rigid structure would need to be followed. This would provide a more beneficial means of progressing through tribunal and it would help ensure that all parties have a greater and clearer understanding of exactly what to expect from the process. The amount of paperwork should also be cut in order to make it easier to progress and withdraw claims.
Preliminary And Case Management Hearings
The way in which preliminary hearings are heard should also be addressed and altered so that pre-hearing reviews and case management discussions are held separately. This should, according to the findings, reduce the total number of hearings and it will mean a quicker disposal of cases too. This is another proposed change that is aimed at reducing time and expenditure on the tribunal process.
Reducing Tribunal Time Without Adversely Affecting Employees
According to Swinson, the tribunal process is a lengthy and expensive one. The changes proposed by her and the government would aim to reduce the uncertainty as well as the costs and workload associated with hearing an industrial tribunal case. She also said that protecting employees was important but so too was ensuring that businesses had an opportunity to grow and strive without the additional and unnecessary pressure of unfair and weak tribunal cases.
About This Article
This article has been written and distributed on behalf of BCL Legal Recruitment.