The DTI is consulting on some minor changes to the EAT Rules of Procedure 2001, largely to bring them into line with the proposed ET Rules of Procedure. It is proposed the changes will come into force on 1st October 2004, the same date as the statutory disciplinary and grievance procedures.
The amendments, on which views are sought, are:
- introducing an overriding objective;
- introducing a requirement that the claim and response forms (the new name for the IT1 and IT3) must be lodged with the Notice of Appeal and written reasons for the decision;
- importantly, the time limit for appealing changes from 42 days from the decision being sent to the parties to 42 days from the date of the order - which presumably means the day that the verbal order/decision is given at the tribunal hearing. Thus it is possible that parties will have to draft their Notices of Appeal without having seen the written reasons! There seems to be no provision for an extension of time in these circumstances;
- a formal system of 'permission to appeal' will be introduced. If the judge or registrar thinks the appeal has no reasonable prospect of success, there will be an oral permission to appeal hearing (currently the registrar and then, in turn, the judge, consider the position on paper only - and if permission is not given the appellant must go to the Court of Appeal);
- a provision for temporary restricted reporting orders, while the substantive application is being considered;
- a general re-wording of the costs provisions, to make costs more likely in the event of an amendment or an adjournment caused by a party. It also allows the EAT to summarily assess costs (with no £10,000 cap, as in the ET), take the paying parties financial position into account, make wasted costs orders against representatives, and award costs to litigants in person. Interesting, it does not introduce a right to recover costs, in line with the ET, if the appeal was 'misconceived' (presumably on the legal fiction that no appeal could be misconceived or the judge would never have let it through to a full hearing!). Successful parties will have to continue relying on the argument that pursuing a hopeless appeal amounts to unreasonable conduct.
Responses to the consultation paper are sought by 25th June 2004.