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Employment Tribunals - Road Map

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The Presidents of Employment Tribunals (England & Wales, and Scotland) have issued a joint road map for 2022-2023. The full document should be read by all practitioners; here is a summary:-

- the HMCTS Reform Programme is underway, aiming to modernise tribunal procedures and convert paper-based processes into digital systems of case data

- video hearings will continue, but the aim is to bring down the number and return to more in person hearings. Tribunals will take a pragmatic approach on this and the decision will rest with the judiciary. Parties can apply to the tribunal for a change of format. 

For 2022/2023, the following will be the default position when listing hearings:

- case management hearings will continue to default to telephone or video

- open preliminary hearings in public to determine a straightforward preliminary issue will continue to default to video. Where there are more complex issues (such as determining disability), subject to individual tribunal resources, the aim is to make greater use of in-person hearings.

- applications to strike out or for a deposit order will continue to default to video

- applications for interim relief will continue to default to video

- final hearings of short track claims (unpaid wages, notice, holiday pay, redundancy pay etc) will, generally, continue to default to video.

- final hearings of standard track claims (unfair dismissal) will vary. Where resources allow, the preference is for a greater return to in-person hearings, especially where there is significant disputed evidence. In London and the South East (where backlog is the greatest), final hearings of standard track claims will continue to default to video.

- final hearings of open track claims (discrimination and whistleblowing) will default to in-person in Scotland. For the time being, in England and Wales, there will be greater reliance on video, including hybrid formats. The wish of the Presidents is for final hearings of open track claims to default to in-person, but this is not achievable in all regions at the present time.