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Law Society calls for ‘restructuring’ of employment tribunal fee regime

Proposes a single employment jurisdiction with a four-stage ADR process

7 September 2015

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The Law Society of England & Wales has today published proposals to reform the employment tribunal (ET) system.

In the discussion document 'Making employment tribunals work for all', it has noted that the introduction of ET fees has created a barrier to genuine claimants.

In addition, the Society has said the time and cost needed to respond to a claim can be damaging to organisations, especially small businesses.

To address the issue, it has outlined some reforms which it believes would create an employment law system that is "accessible to all".

"We hope that they might also lead to a restructuring of the current ET fee regime," it added.

"Due to advances in employment law, both legislative and procedural, the ET process has become increasingly legalistic; simple cases are not being dealt with as quickly and efficiently as they could be," the Society said.

"Most employment disputes need to be lodged at the ET, while some can only be heard in the county or High Court, and in some cases the claimant has a choice of forum. This can be confusing to unrepresented claimants as to where they should start their claim. Once a dispute enters the ET process the avenues for alternative dispute resolution (ADR) are unclear."

The Society wants the structure of the ET to be reformed so that cases are dealt with "at a level proportionate to their complexity and value".

It has suggested that all employment cases be heard in a single jurisdiction through a four-stage ADR process.

"To make the single jurisdiction easy for the public to use there would be a single point of entry. Cases would then be allocated to the appropriate level by a gatekeeper," it said.

The Law Society will be organising discussion groups on its proposals. Anyone interested in participating in these groups should contact Nick Denys by 30 October 2015.

 

 

 

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