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New Employment Tribunal Procedural Rules

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The The Employment Tribunals (Constitution and Rules of Procedure) Regulations 2013 have been published.  They arise from the fundamental review of employment tribunals, carried out by Underhill LJ (then Underhill J) last year.

Here are some of the key points:-

- more details of how tribunal fees will work.  In particular, a tribunal will reject a Claim Form if it is not accompanied by the fee (or a remission application).  If the hearing fee is not paid by the due date (set out in the hearing notice), the tribunal will write to the Claimant giving a deadline for paying the fee or making a remission application, in lieu of which the claim will be dismissed without further order.  There is a discretion to reinstate the claim if the fee is paid (or remission application made) after the deadline has passed

- important changes to the rules on default judgments, including the ability for a Respondent to apply for an extension of time outside the 28 day period for lodging the Response Form

- an initial paper sift by an employment judge of all Claim Forms and Response Forms, to check there is an arguable claim and defence (with a right to present submissions in writing as to why the claim/response should not be dismissed if the judge thinks there is no arguable point)

- several changes to nomenclature and practice, including 'case management discussions' and 'pre-hearing reviews' being merged into 'preliminary hearings'

- more case management powers for employment judges, including specific provisions relating to 'Unless' Orders and a power to conduct a hearing by email(!)

- changes to costs rules, including the power for employment judges to carry out detailed assessments of costs (removing the £20k cap)

Enjoy - they're drafted in plain English, not legalease, which is good as they are mandatory reading for any litigators.  I'll be explaining them at the Employment Law MasterClasses I'm running throughout July (Edinburgh, Cardiff, Birmingham, Manchester, London).

The new Regulations come into force for claims where the Respondent receives a copy of the claim form from the tribunal on or after 29th July 2013.