New UK Employment Tribunal Procedure Rules: changes to increase flexibility and boost capacity

New UK Employment Tribunal Procedure Rules: changes to increase flexibility and boost capacity

A new statutory instrument has been put before parliament, which amends the existing employment tribunal procedure rules, in order to allow more flexibility over virtual hearings –  The Employment Tribunals (Constitution and Rules of Procedure) (Early Conciliation: Exemptions and Rules of Procedure) (Amendment) Regulations 2020.

Here is a summary of the changes:

To allow for backlogs, the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) Early Conciliation provisions will change from the current one-month early conciliation process to a standard six-week process in all cases, with a possible extension of a further two weeks.  This will come into effect on 1 December.

Legal officers will be permitted to carry out certain tasks currently handled by employment judges. These include:

  • Accepting or rejecting claim forms
  • Granting an extension of time present a response (ET3) or for compliance with case management orders
  • Giving permission to amend claims and responses when both parties consent
  • Requesting further information
  • Dismissing claims by consent upon withdrawal

Under certain situations and if the criteria for suitability are met, non-employment judges will be used in employment tribunals.

The rules now allow multiple Claimants and Respondents to use the same forms where reasonable at the employment tribunal stage, to avoid multiple forms and time limits in what is essentially the same dispute.

The measures for the employment tribunal rules, use of legal officers, and cross-deployment of judges will come into force on 8 October.

Should you have any questions about the topics covered in this article, please get in touch with your usual Rooney Nimmo contact or any of the persons below. Click here to read our posts on employment law issues.


John Nimmobw

John Nimmo, Founding Partner
+44 (0)7811 458 506


Dawn Robertson, Partner
+44 (0)7779 939 66

This article is one of a series intended to de-mystify common legal issues for the non-lawyer and entrepreneur audience – they are designed to foster discussion and is by no means exhaustive. These materials are for informational purposes only. Nothing herein is intended nor should be regarded as legal advice. The distribution of this article to any person does not establish an attorney-client relationship with our firm. Rooney Nimmo assumes no liability in connection with the use of this publication. This bulletin is considered attorney advertising under the applicable rules of New York state. Rooney Nimmo UK is regulated by the Law Society of Scotland and Rooney Nimmo US by the New York rules of professional conduct. All attorneys and solicitors listed in this firm stipulate their jurisdictional limitations. Rooney Nimmo in the USA is a law firm registered as a New York State professional corporation.

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