In honour of the changes to the Employment Tribunal rules of procedure which will come into force later this month, this is the first in a series of blogs to highlight the key issues for the parties.
The main change to the overriding objective in employment tribunal cases is the addition of wording “avoiding unnecessary formality and seeking flexibility in the proceedings”. Further parties are expected to work more closely together to achieve the overriding objective as the rules state the parties “shall cooperate with each other”. Perhaps useful to quote at the unengaging party in proceedings when you put them on a costs warning.
The old Rule 11(4) has been replaced with a straightforward obligation that the parties copy to each other their correspondence with the Tribunal (except concerning witness attendances) and the parties must state that they have done so. Applications to the Tribunal still need to notify the other side that any objections must be sent to the Tribunal as soon as possible.
Dispute resolution is now central to the case. The overriding objective requires the Tribunal to encourage the parties to use mediation, ACAS or other settlement options whereever possible. There is also scope for the mediator to be a Judge even where that Judge has been selected to decide matters in that case. Both sides may be questioned at any hearings about settlements and their efforts to engage.
Next in this series of blogs, will be a blog covering case management in the new world!