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.
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John Nimmo, Founding Partner
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Dawn Robertson, Partner
+44 (0)7779 939 66
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