Employment Cases Update

Law Commission Employment Law Hearing Structures Report

Date published: 29/04/2020

Recommendations from the Law Commission on ways in which Employment Tribunals can improve how they operate

The Law Commission, an independent body set up to reform the law, has reviewed the jurisdiction of employment tribunals, and the areas where they share jurisdiction with the civil courts to hear employment and discrimination claims. It found a range of issues including unsatisfactory gaps in employment tribunals' powers which can mean that claimants have to bring two sets of proceedings because the tribunal cannot deal with all their claims.

To improve how employment tribunals operate, the Commission has made a number of recommendations including:

  • Increasing the powers of employment tribunals so that they can decide claims of breach of contract brought by employees and workers while they are still employed. Currently, the employee has to have left the employer before bringing a claim;
  • Increasing the time limit for bringing all types of employment tribunal claims to six months (currently it is 3 months for some types of claim). Tribunals would have the discretion to extend time limits where they consider it "just and equitable" to do so;
  • Giving employment tribunals the power to give damages in breach of contract claims of up to £100,000 (currently the limit is £25,000). This should reduce the need to pursue claims in two different courts;
  • Allowing tribunals to hear complaints by employees that they are working hours in excess of the maximum working time limits;
  • Improvements to the procedures for enforcing employment tribunals' awards to ensure employees receive the compensation in a timely fashion;
  • Employment judges with experience of hearing discrimination claims to be deployed to sit in the county court to hear discrimination cases outside the employment field.

These recommendations, if implemented, would enhance the protections that employees and workers receive from the employment tribunals against discriminatory and unlawful practices.

Read the full report here