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Employment tribunal capacity to be increased due to Covid-19

October 7th 2020
 

The government is introducing a series of changes to increase the flexibility and capacity of the employment tribunal system during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Joanne Stronach Director and Head of Employment & HR provides an update.

The new measures will also allow tribunals to deal with increasing caseloads, following the abolition of employment tribunal fees in July 2017.

It means there will be more remote hearings so tribunals can hear more cases, reducing the burden on courts, claimants and respondents.

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.

Courts Minister, Chris Philp, said: “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. This will help the employment tribunal system deal with demand, reducing unnecessary delays.”

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.

This follows new measures in HM Courts and Tribunal Service to meet the challenge presented by the pandemic to:

  • employ 1,600 new staff to support the recovery
  • set up more temporary Nightingale Courts
  • roll out technology to hear more cases remotely.

The new measures for employment tribunal rules and cross-deployment of judges will come into force on 8 October.

If you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect or employment law please contact our employment team on 01228 516666.

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