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Resolving Workplace Disputes consultation paper

Here are a few of the proposals contained within the Resolving Workplace Disputes consultation paper. One of the major proposals is to increase the qualifying period to two years in unfair dismissal cases.

Dispute resolution:

The paper does not have any specific proposals regarding mediation but the underlying aim is that alternative dispute resolution tools should be used as a faster and cheaper means of dispute
Early conciliation falls into two parts:

(i) early information - it is proposed that a shortened version of the ET1 form is to be lodged with ACAS giving them up to 1 month to conciliate
(ii) pre-claim conciliation with ACAS, in which Claimants are to submit the key details of their dispute with ACAS within the relevant time frame

Under the board heading case management:

  • Pleading reform proposals include the provision of a schedule of loss and greater use of RFI’s before the ET3 under possible penalty of strike out for non-compliance with the provision of information
  • General expansion of circumstances in which one can apply to strike out
  • Expansion of Deposit Order powers and levels. One of the proposals is to change the test for ordering a deposit and to increase the level of a deposit to £1,000

Reducing costs and pressure on the ET by case management:

  • It is proposed that witness statements stand ‘in chief’ as in civil case it is proposed that Employment Judges sit alone in a greater number of cases, in particular unfair dismissal claims

Settlement:

  • One of the reform proposals is to introduce a mechanism to formalise offers by permitting either party to provide written details of an offer, to be lodged with the court office and communicated to the other side. The proposal is to give the Tribunal the power to increase or decrease awards, possibly taking into account costs that were incurred from the date the offer was made

If you have any views on the consultation paper and wish to share them with us then please send them in.