New tribunal procedure rules

The tribunal procedure and the ACAS Early Conciliation rules are to be amended to allow more flexibility.

The changes are contained in the Employment Tribunals (Constitution and Rules of Procedure) (Early Conciliation: Exemptions and Rules of Procedure) (Amendment) Regulations 2020. The changes to the tribunal rules come into force on 8 October 2020 and the changes to the ACAS Early Conciliation rules come into force on 1 December 2020. With tribunal cases already being listed for 2022, it is to be hoped that these will ease the burden on the system.

Among the changes are the following:

  • Non-employment judges will be able to be deployed into employment tribunals if certain criteria on suitability are met.
  • Legal officers will be allowed to carry out some tasks currently performed by employment judges, i.e. uncontentious case management decisions such as considering acceptance or rejection of claim forms and giving permission to amend claims and responses when both parties consent.
  • The ACAS Early Conciliation provisions are changing to allow a standard six-week early conciliation process in all cases, rather than a default one month with a possible extension of a further two weeks.