Law Commission proposals
Friday 1st May 2020
This week the Law Commission published its report “Employment Law Hearing Structures” which details proposed reforms of the Employment Tribunal system. It was specifically asked to examine the overlap in jurisdiction between the civil courts and tribunals in relation to employment and discrimination related claims.
The proposals include:
- Breach of contract: Extending ET jurisdiction to include breach of contract claims arising during employment or after the termination of employment and increasing the limit of all breach of contract claims to £100,000. Currently, tribunals are only able to hear breach of contract claims which arise or are outstanding on the termination of employment and damages are capped at £25,000.
- Time limits: Ensuring consistency by making the time limit for filing all ET claims 6 months.
- Extension of time: Providing tribunals with the discretion to extend time limits in all claims where it is “just and equitable” to do so. This will provide more flexibility in cases where currently the time limit can only be extended where it was “not reasonably practicable” to comply.
- Working time: Giving tribunals jurisdiction to hear complaints that working hours are in excess of the maximum working time limits.
- Enforcement: Improving enforcement procedures to ensure that compensation awarded is received in a timely manner.
- Discrimination: Deploying employment judges with experience hearing discrimination claims to sit in the county court to hear discrimination cases falling outside the employment field. Such cases include discrimination in the provision of services, the exercise of public functions, the management of premises, membership of associations and in the education sector. The Commission notes that although there is a relatively hard boundary between the civil courts and tribunals in relation to discrimination, this relates to the factual context and not the substance of the law.
The Government has 6 months to provide an interim response to the proposals and 12 months in which to respond in full.
The report is available here: https://www.lawcom.gov.uk/project/employment-law-hearing-structures/
All information in this update is intended for general guidance only and is not intended to be comprehensive, or to provide legal advice.