by Laurie Anstis on July 27, 2016
Lord Justice Briggs has today published his final Civil Courts Structure Review report.
Much of the report is concerned with the future of the civil courts (including eye-catching proposals for a new online court), but at paragraph 11.11 onward he also touches on the future of the employment tribunal and employment appeal tribunal, given the current overlap in work between them and the civil courts.
Addressing suggestions for the employment tribunal and employment appeal tribunal to become part of the civil courts, he says “it would … be a retrograde step if a convergence with the civil courts was accompanied by the adoption of the CPR” (para 11.13). Having said that, he found that there was broad support among his consultees for “the creation of an Employment and Equalities Court, as a civil court with specialist judiciary, forming part of the civil court structure, but with exclusive jurisdiction in relation to employment and equality disputes, its own rules, procedure and culture, and a route of first appeal to the EAT as a specialist appeal court.” and that “there was no significant support for leaving the ET and the EAT in their state of current isolation” (para 11.15).
Acknowledging that practical and possible political difficulties with creating a new court may prevent change in the short to medium term, he says “it will nonetheless be necessary to address the unsatisfactory jurisdictional limits which currently prevent many employment cases being dealt with, in full, in the civil courts or in the ET” (para 11.18).
He concludes “there continues to be a case for convergence between the Employment Tribunal (and Employment Appeal Tribunal) and the civil courts, but the detail is a matter beyond the scope of this review” (para 12.15(60)).