All change at the Employment Tribunal
From 29th July 2013 the Employment Tribunal Constitution and Rules of Procedure Regulations 2013 (SI 2013/1237) comes into full force. The new procedural rules are flexible, clearer and more user-friendly.
A summary of the key changes are outlined below.
- A claim can now be rejected by the Tribunal when the fee for issuing a claim is unpaid or the claim suffers from substantive defects, for example, when the claim is presented in “a form which cannot sensibly be responded to”.
- Where a claim or response is rejected, the defaulting party can, within 14 days of the notice of rejection, apply for a “reconsideration”. The grounds for the application must be that the reason to reject was wrong or that the defect can be rectified.
- Default judgment orders will no longer be issued. Under the new rules when no response is submitted, or a full admission is made, or a response is rejected and no subsequent application for reconsideration is made the Tribunal will decide on the information before it whether a determination can be made and a judgment issued accordingly.
- A new sifting mechanism has been introduced to dispose of weak cases. When a response is received an Employment Judge will consider all the documentation and decide whether the Tribunal has jurisdiction to hear the claim and whether the claim or any response to it has a reasonable prospect of success. The Employment Judge has power to dismiss unmeritorious claims.
- The procedure for making an application for a case management order has been simplified. Parties no longer need to explain how the order will assist the Tribunal in dealing with the proceedings efficiently and fairly. Further where an application is made in writing by a party, the other side only need to be informed that any objections to the application should be sent to the Tribunal as soon as possible.
- The case management discussion and pre-trial review stages have now been subsumed into the “preliminary hearing”. Parties must be prepared to deal with both case management issues and substantive preliminary matters.
Employment Judges now have the power to carry out a detailed assessment of costs.
Elizabeth Dwomoh / 1st Jul 2013
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