In a long-anticipated update to the rules governing the employment tribunals, the government has now set out draft regulations which proposes changes to facilitate the work of the Tribunals. The changes include the following, which are due to come into force on 8 October 2020:
- Certain non-employment judges (including High Court Judges Circuit Judges), will be permitted to hear employment cases in the Tribunal.
- Permission for legal officers to assist with some functions of judges in the Tribunal, including:
- Determining whether an ET1 claim form is defective
- Determining certain applications for a postponement or an extension of time
- Dismissing claims on withdrawal
- Amendment to rules to facilitate case management, including allowing acceptance of ET1 claim forms even where there is an error in the early conciliation number.
- Amendment to rules to expedite listing, including giving the Tribunal flexibility to list cases even before the response deadline has been reached.
- Amendment of existing rules to facilitate virtual hearings.
- Amendment of rules to facilitate reconsiderations of judgments (a judgment can be reconsidered by any judge).
- Permitting multiple claimants to use a single ET1 claim form where they give rise to common or related issues or if it is reasonable for them to do so.
- The early conciliation period will also be changed from 1 month to 6 weeks from 1 December 2020 but the power to extend this period will be removed.
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