In May the Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine, announced a wide-ranging and independent review of industrial tribunals throughout England and Wales. The last such review took place 43 years ago in 1957. That last review came under the chairmanship of Sir Oliver Franks.

The Lord Chancellor appointed Sir Andrew Leggatt, a retired Appeal Court judge, to head the review. The report from the review is due by March of next year.

Speaking at the launch, Lord Irvine said that there has been a fundamental change in the nature of, and pressures on, tribunals over the last 40 years.

It will look at the "haphazard growth of tribunals, complex routes of appeal, and the need for mechanisms to ensure coherent development of the law".

Six key areas in particular will be looked at: the "fair, timely, proportionate and effective" arrangements for handling disputes; the requirements of the European Convention on Human Rights for independence and impartiality; the arrangements for improving people's knowledge and understanding of their rights and responsibilities; the funding and management of tribunals; performance standards for tribunals; and to ensure a coherent structure for the delivery of administrative justice in tribunals.