Workplace rights: Fast-track tribunals

Employment law policy has hardly been a central theme of the election, but a British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) report hints at the reforms that might be on the cards under a Tory government.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Much of the report is the scratched record of 'cutting red tape' and reducing 'burdens on business', but it also suggests an overhaul of the UK's 'dysfunctional' tribunal system. The BCC claims that employment cases are too costly and take too long to be heard, resulting in reputational damage to innocent companies. Among other things, it proposes fast-tracking of cases worth less than รบ3,000, all claims to be heard within 16 weeks of receipt, and faster production of orders by tribunal staff. Such reforms would be expensive, while other proposals are controversial. These include the idea that an employee not legally represented should have to get advice from Acas, the workplace advisory service, before making a claim. This, however, might compromise the independence of Acas's role as a mediator of disputes between worker and employer.

- Michael Burd and James Davies, Lewis Silkin LLP solicitors - e-mail:

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