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review of employment tribunal rules

12 July 2012

Mr. Justice Underhill has published his review.

Key recommendations are an early stage “preliminary hearing” (combined case management discussion and pre-hearing review); judges having an early paper sift with a view to strike outs; binding timetables which can limit oral evidence in hearings; removal of the £20,000 limit on costs tribunals can assess and a simpler regime for setting aside default judgments. Reviewed response and claim forms will be provided.

The rules would be supplemented by non binding “presidential guidance” on how they apply and what to expect from the tribunal process.

Further desirable changes were identified such as cost awards for lay representatives, power to award contribution between respondents for discrimination and deposit orders for pursuing a particular issue. However, these require amendments to primary legislation. The draft rules are more accessible, half the size of the old ones and early strike outs for claims with no reasonable prospects of success would be welcomed by employers. A formal consultation takes place later this year.

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