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Reducing delays in the employment tribunal

18 July 2014

The Employment Tribunal is currently undergoing a period of significant change. The introduction of fees and the early conciliation process has reduced the total number of cases, and now reducing delay is on the agenda. Proposed legislation focuses on delays caused by parties applying for multiple postponements or adjournments of proceedings, particularly where applications are made at short notice.

The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill will allow the Government to introduce legislation to address these delays by limiting the number of times a party can apply for postponement or adjournment, and by requiring Tribunals to consider making an order for costs against a party who makes a late application to postpone or adjourn.

It is not yet clear what will amount to a ‘late application’, but the introduction of a costs penalty should be seen as a warning to parties to manage their cases to ensure that applications to postpone should be made at the earliest time possible.

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