Presidential guidance in the employment tribunal

by Laurie Anstis on January 6, 2014

Rule 7 of the new employment tribunal rules of procedure contemplates that:

“The Presidents may publish guidance for England and Wales and for Scotland, respectively, as to matters of practice and as to how the powers conferred by these Rules may be exercised.”

The draft rules contained two examples of possible presidential guidance – on rule 21 judgments (formerly default judgments) and on applications for postponement of hearings. However, when the new rules were introduced, there was no presidential guidance to accompany them.

It was reported by Michael Reed following the employment tribunal national user group meeting on 18 December that presidential guidance was imminent, and it has now been published – official guidance (applicable in England and Wales only) on rule 21 judgments and postponements. They are available on the official web page here.

One strange point is that both items of guidance say they were issued on 4 December 2013, although this does not accord with Michael’s note that they were not available at the time of the national user group meeting.

Rule 7 says that: “Tribunals must have regard to any such guidance, but they shall not be bound by it.” In practice the guidance on postponements is likely to be particularly important, and it is worth noting that para 4 says that applications made which are not in accordance with the guidance “will ordinarily not be considered unless there are exceptional circumstances”.

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