The Employment Tribunals (Constitution and Rules of Procedure) (Early Conciliation: Exemptions and Rules of Procedure) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 (the “Regulations”) were laid before Parliament on 17 September 2020. They will amend existing Employment Tribunal rules with effect from 8 October 2020 and existing early conciliation rules with effect from 1 December 2020.
The aim of the new Regulations is to increase Employment Tribunals’ capacity to hear claims and to make it quicker and easier for claims to progress. A recent House of Commons report stated that, for March 2020, the longest waiting time between receipt of claim and date of first hearing in some of the busiest Employment Tribunals was up to 165 weeks (and this will no doubt have increased significantly since March given the scale and impact of the current pandemic).
In particular, the Regulations will:
1. Permit a range of non-employment judges to sit as employment judges;
2. Allow legal officers to make certain determinations currently reserved to employment judges;
3. Widen the scope for multiple claimants and respondents to use the same ET1 and ET3 forms;
4. Allow Employment Tribunals to list cases for hearing before the deadline for responding to the claim has passed (provided that the date of the hearing is no sooner than 14 days after that date); and
5. Amend the early conciliation rules to change the default early conciliation period from one calendar month to six weeks.
Our team of employment experts are ready to help your organisation with any queries arising out of these new changes.