‘Making employment tribunals work for all’
Earlier this month The Law Society of England and Wales (TLS) published a discussion document which proposes that the structure of employment tribunals (ET) could be reformed. TLS has spoken to politicians, civil servants, the judiciary, business associations, trade unions and employment law groups to see how the employment tribunal structure can be improved.
TLS statement outline that “Organisations, especially small businesses, can find the cost and time needed to respond to a claim damages their business. Due to advances in employment law, both legislative and procedural, the ET process has become increasingly legalistic; simple cases are not being dealt with as quickly and efficiently as they could be”.
The proposal is that all cases should be dealt with at a level proportionate to their complexity and value in a single jurisdiction. TLS has suggested four levels of claim which should be dealt with flexibly depending on their intricacy and their value. Each level would have different procedures and each case would be allocated to the appropriate level through an allocation centre:
- Level 1: Simple straight forward matters would be dealt with on a paper basis.
- Level 2: Straight forward matters that need further probing. ·
- Level 3: Most matters currently heard by the full ET (i.e. a Judge and two lay members).
- Level 4: Very high value claims would be heard by an experienced judge.
The purpose of the proposed reform is to make an ET structure which is available to all. TLS also hopes that the proposed structure may result in a restructuring of the ET fee regime.
This is just a proposal at this stage and we will keep you updated if matters develop.