How does the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act affect employment law? (Part 2 of 3)

Year Published: 2013

Many of the changes in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act affect employment legislation and employers need to be aware of these changes.

Following the first article in the series, which reviewed the objective of encouraging the earliest resolution of disputes, please find the second in the series below on a more efficient tribunal system for all.

To deliver a more efficient employment tribunal system for all

At present, the running of the employment tribunal system costs the taxpayer £84 million per year and the claimant does not have to contribute. Under separate legislation the government have proposed the introduction of tribunal fees previously covered in our law alert of 23rd January 2013, however this Act introduces two further changes in an attempt to make the system more efficient.

Deposit orders

The current system provides for an employment tribunal judge to make a deposit order if a claimant wishes to continue with a weak claim. The act alters this system and allows the employment tribunal judge to make an order relating to specific parts of the claim. The purpose of this change is to address each situation where the claimant brings a number of claims at one time, some of which have merit and others which have no reasonable prospects of success.

The proposed date for the introduction of this change is 25 June 2013.

Employment appeal tribunal

In order to reduce the costs associated with running the tribunal system, judges will sit alone in the employment appeal tribunal unless there are justifiable reasons not to do so. This proposal has been introduced in order to save money and to use lay members more efficiently.

It is expected that this change will be introduced as part of the revised employment tribunal rules which should come into force in the Summer of 2013.

Discrimination questionnaires

Currently a claimant or potential claimant can serve a respondent with a questionnaire in order to gather information about possible discrimination. There is a time limit imposed on the respondent to complete the questionnaire and return it. There is no obligation on the respondent to complete the questionnaire however if they fail to submit a response the tribunal are invited to draw adverse inferences as a result which can have a detrimental effect on the case. The act removed this procedure and it is likely that a less onerous procedure will be introduced. Details of the alternative are not yet known and no date for their introduction has been proposed.

For further information on this or any other employment matter, contact our employment team.

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