Policy News Journal - 2016-17

The Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals ……………………………………………………………Policy News Journal

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Employment Tribunal decisions online at GOV.UK 10 February 2017

In July 2016 HM Courts & Tribunal Service announced that new employment tribunal decisions will be made publicly available online once they had the technology ready. They confirmed in the November that this would be happening from late 2016 or early 2017. The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has now made available their new website for Employment Tribunal decisions . There are already many cases on the site dating back to 2015. The database will allow the public to search for first-instance judgments from England, Wales and Scotland using drop-down menus and a free-text search. Previously, if someone wanted to find or browse employment tribunal decisions they had to attend in person at offices in Bury St Edmunds for English and Welsh decisions, and in Glasgow for Scottish decisions. Any individual can search this new MoJ database and see what types of claims are being brought. Individuals and companies are obviously named so employers can search for names of prospective employees and conversely an employer’s reputation could be damaged just by an allegation, irrespective of a tribunal outcome. The bailli website (British and Irish Legal Information Institute) does also list decisions and includes Northern Ireland which the MoJ site currently does not; however the latter does host a simpler layout which may make it more user-friendly for the general public. This development will speed up the process of accessing tribunal decisions but there are wider implications.

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Review of the introduction of fees in the Employment Tribunal 13 February 2017

The government is consulting on proposals for an adjustment to the Help with Fees scheme to extend the scope of support available to people on lower incomes.

The government has published a review of the introduction of fees in the Employment Tribunals (ET) which shows that the introduction of fees (in July 2013) has broadly met its objectives:  users are contributing between £8.5 million and £9 million a year in fee income, in line with expectations, transferring a proportion of the cost from the taxpayer to those who use the tribunal;  more people are now using Acas’s free conciliation service than were previously using voluntary conciliation and bringing claims to the ET combined; and  Acas’s conciliation service is effective in helping just under half the people who refer disputes to them avoid the need to go to the tribunal, and where conciliation has not worked, most people go on to issue proceedings in the ET. The review has however identified some issues of concern. The fall in claims has been significantly greater than was estimated when fees were first introduced. Although the government remain satisfied that there are sufficient safeguards in place to make sure that fees do not prevent people from bringing claims before the ETs, there does appear to be evidence that fees have discouraged some people from bringing proceedings.

Therefore a consultation has been published which sets out the government’s review of ET fees and includes proposals for reforming the Help with Fees scheme.

The deadline for responses is 14 March 2017 and should be sent to mojfeespolicy@justice.gsi.gov.uk

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