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Employment Tribunal Rules amended to reduce bureaucracy and increase capacity

New legislation introduced by the government to make several technical changes to employment tribunal and early conciliation procedure aimed at reducing bureaucracy and increasing the capacity of the employment tribunals to hear claims.

They amendments provide that, from 8 October 2020, non-employment judges may sit as employment judges, subject to certain criteria. Additionally, some functions currently carried out by employment judges may be delegated to legal officers. Further, various changes are also to the Employment Tribunal Rules which include making it easier for tribunals and parties to conduct remote hearings, giving the tribunals greater powers to accept claims which contain administrative errors and giving parties wider scope to deal with multiple claims or responses in one form.

Additional changes to the Acas early conciliation procedure will come into force on 1 December 2020. From this date, the Amendment Regulations provide for a six-week conciliation period in all claims instead of the one-month period which currently applies, although the parties will no longer be able to agree to extend the conciliation period by 14 days. It will also be possible for conciliators to correct errors in the early conciliation form at any time during the early conciliation period.