Changes to employment tribunal procedure

The Government has announced a "fundamental review" of the Employment Tribunal Rules of Procedure, with substantial changes to employment tribunal procedure expected to be introduced on 6 April 2012. 

The review, announced on 23 November 2011, will be carried out by the outgoing President of the Employment Appeals Tribunal, Mr Justice Underhill, with the intention of producing a streamlined procedural code that addresses concerns that the Rules have become "increasingly complex and unwieldy over time". 

The review was announced in the Government's response to the consultation on resolving workplace disputes. The document also confirmed the following changes to employment tribunal procedure:

  • Unfair dismissal cases: Employment judges will hear unfair dismissal cases alone in the tribunal, unless they direct otherwise, and judges will hear all cases alone in the Employment Appeal Tribunal, unless they direct otherwise. 
  • Deposit orders: The maximum amount of a deposit order, which a tribunal can order a party to pay as a condition to continuing with tribunal proceedings, will increase from £500 to £1,000. 
  • Costs orders: The maximum amount of a costs order, which a tribunal may award in favour of a legally represented party, will increase from £10,000 to £20,000. 
  • Witness statements: Witness statements are to be taken "as read" unless a tribunal directs otherwise. 
  • Expenses: Tribunals will have the power to direct that the parties to a dispute are responsible for paying witnesses' expenses and that the party who loses the case should reimburse the successful party for any such costs already paid out. 

These changes will come into force on 6 April 2012. 


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