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‘Wholesale change’ of employment tribunals needed

‘Wholesale change’ of employment tribunals needed

The Government must implement “wholesale culture change” of the employment tribunals system to cut costs for business and speed up the process for employees with valid claims, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) says.

In a package of recommendations, the business group is proposing that judges be given powers to shorten tribunal hearings by discounting irrelevant evidence and responsibility for managing the whole system should be transferred from the Ministry of Justice to the Department for Business.

The CBI cited Government figures showing a sharp rise in the backlog of claims waiting to be heard, with the average claim taking around 18 months to process. While acknowledging the Government has implemented a series of “valuable but piecemeal” reforms, the body says more still needs to be done, arguing tribunals have become “too much like courts” and should be re-focused on speedy and informal dispute resolution.

Katja Hall, chief policy director at the CBI, said:

“The processes of the High Court do not belong in an employment tribunal, but the current system prioritises legal formalities over speedy and effective dispute resolution.

“Despite a falling number of claims, the system is still taking too long to process them, as it has been for years. This is why tribunal reform is businesses’ main priority for change in employment law.

“Delays in the system prevent valid claims getting swift justice and lead to soaring costs for businesses, whether they win or lose.”

IBB’s Employment Team provides advice on the employment aspects of all major business decisions. To contact a member of the team for advice, call us on 01895 207892 or email employment@ibblaw.co.uk