by Laurie Anstis on September 7, 2015
There is a need for change in the employment tribunal system.
Following the introduction of employment tribunal fees, claims are down by 75-80%. Employees are left without redress for serious injustices, but employers continue to complain of vexatious claims and the cost of defending claims. The overlapping jurisdiction of the employment tribunal and courts in breach of contract matters leads to difficulties over the appropriate jurisdiction for a claim. There has been no thorough review of the system since industrial tribunals were established in the late 1960s.
The Law Society has now published a discussion paper setting out proposals for reform. This document is based on work carried out be the Employment Law Committee, of which I am the chair. It sets out proposals for a new single employment law jurisdiction, with four levels. Cases would be assigned to different levels based on their complexity and value, and would be dealt with by judges experienced in employment law matters.
This is now issued as a discussion paper with a view to prompting debate on the future of the employment tribunal system. The paper itself sets out ways of responding, and we welcome responses from a broad range of those involved in employment relations and employment law.