Government boosts tribunal capacity to help outcome across employment

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A raft of changes to boost hearing capacity in employment tribunals has been introduced into Parliament by business minister Paul Scully.

The reforms will give the system more flexibility in light of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Government says they will also allow tribunals to deal with increasing caseloads, following the abolition of employment tribunal fees in July 2017.

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It added that the reforms will assist tribunals in ensuring the speedier delivery of justice for businesses and workers.

Business minister Paul Scully said: “The employment tribunal system has held up very well in the face of an increased caseload and the impacts of COVID-19 – but these changes will boost its capacity further.

“These reforms will provide further flexibility to the system to ensure workers and businesses receive quick and fair resolutions to disputes, both at this critical time and in the future too.”

While courts minister Chris Philp added: “These changes will provide speedier resolutions for businesses and employees alike, and are the latest step in our plan, backed by £80 million of funding and an additional 1,600 staff, to reduce delays and deliver justice.

“We are pursuing every available option including increasing the use of technology, rolling out further safety measures to ensure our courts recover from the effects of the pandemic as quickly as possible.”

One of the changes being made will allow the judiciary the option of deploying non-employment judges into employment tribunals, if certain criteria on suitability are met.

The government is also changing employment tribunal rules to allow more flexibility over virtual hearings.

The change will reduce the need for physical hearings in the future making it easier for claimants and respondents, who, for example, will not need to pay travel costs.

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Alex Douglas

The author Alex Douglas

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