Employment Tribunals Changes

Employment Tribunals Act 1996 (Tribunal Composition) Order 2012
From 6th April 2012 the following changes will be made to the procedure of employment tribunals in England and Wales:
• Employment judges are to sit alone to hear unfair dismissal claims (previously such claims were heard by a panel of three including an employment judge and a representative from an employer’s organisation and a representative from an employee’s organisation).
• An increase from £500 to £1000 in the amount that an employment judge or tribunal can order a party to pay as a deposit.
• An increase in the maximum amount that can be ordered in costs, expenses or preparation orders from £10,000 to £20,000.
• Give employment judges and tribunals the power to order that a party pay the expenses of a witness relating to their attendance at the tribunal to give evidence and to make a costs order in relation to such attendance.
• Witness statements are now to be taken as having been read without the need for examination-in-chief of the witness unless the employment judge or tribunal otherwise directs.
• The procedure whereby judgments in proceedings under the Equality Act 2010 are sent to the Equality and Human Rights Commission will now be altered so that copies of such judgments do not have to be sent if it relates to national security or the security service, secret intelligence service or government communications headquarters are a party to the proceedings.
Future changes to procedure
The following changes to tribunal procedure will take place shortly (dates yet to be confirmed) and have not therefore been included in the 2012 Order:
• Judges in the Employment Appeals Tribunal will be able to hear all cases alone if they choose.
• Employment tribunals will have the power to impose a financial levy on any employer who breaches an employee’s reemployment rights.
• All employment claims will in the first instance be referred to ACAS for conciliation.