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Tribunal system ‘needs reform’

Tribunal system ‘needs reform’

The employment tribunal procedure needs to be overhauled, according to legal experts.

According to a survey carried out by the Employment Lawyers Association (ELA), concerns have been raised by the rising tide of unhappy employees.

And the lawyers questioned said the tribunal procedure needs to be more efficient as a result.

Figures show that there has been a 56% rise in claims in 2009/10 compared with the previous 12 months.

The data, revealed in the Tribunal Services report, showed an increase from 151,000 claims to 236,100. The huge rise reflects soaring unemployment levels in the country.

But concerns have been raised over the consistency, and quality of tribunal services. According to the survey, more than half (56%) of those who responded had experienced a decline in service received from tribunals, while 83% said the system was not consistent enough.

Joanne Owers, chair of the ELA, said the tribunal system had been put under huge pressure recently.

She added: “It is understandable that cracks are appearing in the system.”

Justin Govier, Head of IBB Solicitors’ employment team and a member of the ELA, says: “The increased number of claims will come as no surprise given the state of the economy in 2009/2010 and the vast number of equal pay claims. The last government looked at ways of reducing the strain on the Employment Tribunal Service through promoting (and making mandatory) the use of internal disciplinary and grievance procedures and encouraging the use of the acas conciliatory service in disputes prior to tribunal claims being submitted. However, the number of claims appear to be rising nonetheless and resourcing of the tribunals will need to be looked at, which will pose difficulties in the current economic climate.”

IBB’s Employment team provides advice on the employment aspects of all major business decisions. For advice, contact Justin or a member of the team, call us on 08456 381 381 or email enquiries@ibblaw.co.uk.