The snappily titled Employment Tribunals (Constitution and Rules of Procedure) (Early Conciliation: Exemptions and Rules of Procedure) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 were published on 18 September which were needed due to the backlog of cases as a result of COVID-19. The aim of these regulations is to improve capacity and see an earlier conclusion to matters progressing through the tribunal system as well as reducing the administrative burden on employment judges.
Some measures came into force on 8 October 2020 whereas others will be implemented on 1 December 2020.
In the Memorandum to the Regulations, the government states:
“The employment dispute resolution system faces significant pressures from the impact of both Covid-19 and an increase in employment tribunal claims following the abolition of fees in 2017. In addition to this case load, social distancing measures have affected the employment tribunals’ ability to manage claims, adding further delays.
The impact of Covid-19 has also highlighted areas of the tribunal rules where there needs to be more flexibility to allow cases to be handled in a proportionate way.
The measures in this instrument are intended to reduce the administrative burden to the system and ensure that workers and businesses can resolve their disputes swiftly, rather than through costly litigation over technical procedural matters.”
– considering acceptance or rejection of claim forms
– extending time for an ET3 or for compliance with case management orders
– giving leave to amend claims and responses (where both parties consent to the amendment).
– ordering further information
– dismissing claims by consent upon withdrawal
These are challenging times, especially for business owners and employers. Our team of Employment Law experts are on hand provide you with their guidance and advice based on latest government updates to help you work through this difficult period.
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