Austerity measures in the Employment Tribunals

HM Courts & Tribunals Service has announced a number of austerity measures that users of the employment tribunals can expect to see over the coming months. (Some of these measures may be familiar to some readers, having already been piloted in certain regions.)

  • Some shorter and less complex cases will be heard by lay members sitting without an employment judge.
  • The current practice of refreshing water jugs twice weekly will be reduced to weekly; cups will be provided on a ‘wash your own’ basis.
  • To encourage settlement, a proportion of cases will be cancelled ‘for want of judicial resources’ on the day of the hearing.
  • ‘Intelligent flooring’ hatches will be permanently nailed down to prevent parties and their representatives from abstracting electricity
  • Lifts will be marked ‘out of order’ at times of highest demand. It is hoped that this will contribute to the fitness of parties and their representative, thereby also reducing NHS expenditure.
  • Fees will be payable for the use of the toilets. Application for waiver of the toilet fees may be made on form ET13A; oral applications may be heard by an employment judge in cases of urgency.
  • To save on photocopying costs and reading time, the irrelevant portions of the bundle of documents (i.e. in most cases at least 75% of the material) will be re-used at for at least 5 hearings. Parties will be responsible for distributing any relevant material they wish to put before the tribunal (not more than 25%, but ideally less than 10% of the whole) randomly through the irrelevant material.
  • HMCTS is continuously on the look-out for further cost-saving measures. Suggestions left as comments on this post will of course be forwarded as appropriate.

    7 Replies to “Austerity measures in the Employment Tribunals”

    1. Extended written reasons as to liability are not to be provided before a remedies hearing to encourage parties to be afraid of how bad it could be for them and so settle for a figure which proves to have been crazy when the tribunal’s full views on Polky and contribution are known later. This will reduce dramatically the number of remedies hearings that actually take place.

    2. I would say this was “shocking”, but given that the electric sockets will be locked shut, it obviously cannot be.

      One scheme piloted in my own tribunal is for the employment judge to pick on one of the advocates in each case, querying his authorities, ridiculing her cross-examination, constantly interrupting, with a prize for the judge who can reduce a QC to tears.

    3. Phew – for a moment I had doubts but am relieved to hear that this was not legalese for something I knew nothing about. Bringing my own case – maybe too sensitive!

    4. It genuinely took me until I read the point about “intelligent flooring” before I realised it was an April Fool. Just goes to show how bad things have become.

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