• Employment Tribunal - Recommendation for New Rules
  • October 15, 2012 | Authors: Peta-Anne Barrow; Daniel Ornstein
  • Law Firm: Proskauer Rose LLP - London Office
  • In November 2011, Mr. Justice Underhill, former president of the Employment Appeal Tribunal, was tasked with carrying out a comprehensive review of the Employment Tribunal Rules of Procedure. The aim was for him to produce a revised procedural code to ensure efficiency in handling claims.

    The proposed new rules have now been published and are shorter and are aimed at being more accessible.

    One of the key changes is that there will be an initial sift by an Employment Judge after the ET1 (claim form) and ET3 (the response to the claim) have been lodged. This will allow for the early consideration of whether there is an arguable complaint and defence within the Employment Tribunal's jurisdiction. The Employment Judge could then either make case management directions or strike out a party's case for having no reasonable prospects of success.

    Respondents will be able to apply for an extension of time after the deadline for the ET3 has expired. Currently, an ET3 received by the Employment Tribunal outside of the time limit is automatically rejected and default judgment entered. It is now proposed that where an ET3 is submitted late together with an application to extend, the time limit that the ET3 is not rejected pending the outcome of the application.

    Aside from proposing changes to the Employment Tribunal Rules, Mr. Justice Underhill also recommended changes to primary legislation. He suggested that the Civil Liability (Contribution) Act should be amended to apply to discrimination claims brought in the Employment Tribunals. This would empower Employment Tribunals to apportion compensation between two or more respondents where both are found jointly and severally liable for an act of discrimination.

    The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has announced that there will be a period of consultation to consider these proposed changes prior to their implementation.