Govt pressured to rejig employment tribunals

Radical recommendations for overhauling employment tribunals, made by a taskforce chaired by Janet Gaymer, the senior partner of Simmons & Simmons, have been appr-oved by the Government

The raft of proposals include reviewing the regulation of employment law advisers and the system of enforcing tribunal awards. She also calls for “generally more investment in the system”, which is beset with delays and an insufficient number of judges.

Gaymer chaired a taskforce comprising representatives from a mass of interests, ranging from the Confederation of British Industry to unions and corporate bodies. A three-year schedule has been set for implementation.

To tackle a case backlog, the taskforce suggests early disclosure of information to see if claimants actually have cases to answer for, as well as a greater emphasis on the prevention of disputes, including more involvement by Acas. However, it also recommends widening the jurisdiction of the employment tribunal.

Parties will also be asked about their availability before a full hearing date is set and they should be better prepared for cases. This includes sending papers earlier to tribunal chairmen and lay members.

Acas and the employment tribunal service are investigating ways of implementing the proposals.