Reforming the Employment Tribunal System
23 December 2016
The government has published a consultation on reforming the Employment Tribunal system.
Geographical extent – the reforms apply to Great Britain only.
The government is investing significant resources to transform the justice system to help people to navigate their way to the best resolution for them; reduce the complexity in language, process and systems; minimise the steps that people need to go through to obtain justice; and improve access to justice. This transformation will be underpinned by three basic reform design principles that the justice system will be:
Just - the judiciary will continue to be independent and impartial in their decision-making. It will be supported by modern, transparent processes that are consistent, with no one disadvantaged when using the system and everyone bringing a case able to describe and defend it.
Proportionate – more simple cases will be dealt with swiftly at the right levelso that the cost and speed of the process is proportionate to the type of case under consideration. This will save people time, cost them less, and make working through the legal system less of a burden.
Accessible – the service is affordable, understandable and available for use by all, convenient for those who cannot easily attend in person, and supportive of those not comfortable with the law or technology.
Tribunals were created to provide simple, proportionate means for individuals to challenge decisions of the state, public bodies and employers that affect their civil and regulatory rights. In this respect, Employment Tribunals have always been seen as unique.
However, while they were designed to be more accessible and informal than the courts to enable users to prepare and present their cases without legal representation, tribunals have not kept pace with changes in society or, in particular, with the way that users want and need to interact with government systems.
The government’s radical programme of reform to the courts and tribunal system will transform the way that tribunal users engage with the system. It will enable citizens to present their own cases easily and obtain justice more swiftly; reducing complexity in language, process and systems; and reducing the costs of the tribunal system to taxpayers. It will make better use of modern technology to create a system that is able to respond promptly, effectively and proportionately to the needs of its different users.
The consultation will run until 20 January 2017.