Notwithstanding the lack of a positive response to consultation on the subject the Government has confirmed that it will press ahead with plans to introduce amendments to the Employment Tribunal Procedure Rules concerning postponement applications. The amendments to the rules will be that (save in exceptional circumstances):
- limit the number of postponements to hearings that may be allowed to two per party. There are other exceptions such as where the other party is at fault, or both parties want the case postponed in order to facilitate settlement negotiations;
- require applications for postponement to be made at least 7 days before the hearing;
The amendments will also oblige the Tribunal to consider a costs or preparation time order where an application is made less than 7 days before the hearing. These measures will be implemented in April 2016, under section 151 of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015. This means that they will apply to any claims present after 5th April 2016.