Employment Law

Eighth edition

by Deborah Lockton

Update for Chapter 1

Sources and Institutions of Employment Law

This update was last revised in October 2012

1.6 Employment Tribunals
In the list of types of claim which can be heard by the judge alone after holiday pay claims please insert 
■ unfair dismissal claims from April 2012 (introduced by the Employment Tribunals Act 1996 (Composition) Order 2012

1.6.1 Stop Press
At the end of the discussion please note the following:
The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill was laid before Parliament in May 2012. Proposals within the bill include:
  1. A mandatory period of ACAS conciliation before tribunal proceedings can be instigated
  2. The introduction of legal officers to hear certain cases if the parties agree
  3. EAT cases to be heard by a judge alone, unless ordered otherwise
  4. The power for the Secretary of State to limit the compensatory award in unfair dismissal to a maximum of the national median and three times the median earnings (at the time of writing the median earnings are £26,000 so between £26 – 78,000) or to limit the award to one year of the claimant's salary
  5. A power for tribunals to impose a financial penalty upon an employer where there are "aggravating features" of up to 50% of any financial award (with a minimum of £100 and a maximum of £5,000) with a 50% reduction if paid within 21 days
  6. Renaming compromise agreements as settlement agreements and proving that such are privileged and do not have to be disclosed to the tribunal.

Furthermore in July 2012 the Ministry of Justice announced that it would be implementing a fees regime which it is thought will be in force from summer 2013. Briefly these are:
  1. Level 1 claims (e.g. unlawful deductions) £160 issue fee, £230 hearing fee
  2. Level 2 claims (e.g. unfair dismissal) £250 issue fee, £950 hearing fee
  3. EAT £400 appeal fee, £1,200 hearing fee
There will be provision for those claimants who cannot afford such fees. It is submitted, however, that many claimants who have legitimate claims will be deterred from presenting them.