Changes to employment tribunals
On 8 October 2020 the government amended the Employment Tribunal Rules of Procedure to increase the capacity of employment tribunals to hear claims. The new changes came into force in December 2020 to help speed up claims.
Why have the rules changed?
There’s a backlog in the administration of Employment Tribunal Claims, leading to long delays in claims being heard because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The key changes are designed to increase speed and capacity of the Employment Tribunal to help clear the tribunal backlog.
The key changes
- Non-employment judges will be able to sit as employment judges to increase capacity and get claims moving faster.
- More duties for legal officers instead of employment judges, giving legal officers more power to carry out administration tasks that judges would usually do such as accept or dismiss claims, or extending time.
- Relax the rules around public hearings so that more cases can be heard through video conferences. Judges will be able to decide whether hearings are conducted in person, partly remotely or completely remotely.
- Multiple people can make a claim using the same employment tribunal form where reasonable to avoid multiple certificates and time limits of essentially the same dispute.
- The Acas early conciliation process is refined to allow great flexibility in dealing with minor errors, the Acas early conciliation period will be six weeks instead of one calendar month and conciliators can no longer extend the early conciliation period.
What do the amended employment tribunal rules mean for my business?
The most important thing to take away is that these new amendments are designed to increase capacity and clear the backlog of claims.
Employers should still be prepared for some employment tribunal claims to take much longer to resolve. For example, we are seeing claims lodged in December 2020 not being listed for full hearings until Spring 2022.
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