The Law Society has suggested a reform for the Employment Tribunal system. The reform will change the structure of the ET, introducing a system where each case will be dealt with at the appropriate level depending on its complexity and value. There will be four levels in total, all part of the same jurisdiction. Each of the levels will have a distinct procedure to be followed, but the system as a whole will encourage and promote Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). The levels are as follows:
- Cases in Level 1 will have their outcomes based on the documents which are submitted. Simple, straightforward cases will be allocated to this level.
- Level 2 will involve a judicial inquisitorial approach. The cases in this level will be straightforward, but in need for some further investigation.
- Level 3 will take in cases which constitute the majority of Employment Tribunal claims at the moment. Level 3 will encourage early neutral evaluation and ADR.
- Cases found in Level 4 will be the ones which are heard under civil litigation principles. They will be equivalent to cases which are currently heard in the civil court. Only some of these cases will attract costs.
Levels 1 and 2 will deal with cases of simple facts which do not involve new issues of law. These cases will have lower costs, as the hearings will be carried out in a less formal style.
Levels 3 and 4 will operate in a more formal way, similar to the current Employment Tribunal and Civil Court. One of the main differences will be the focus to offer more ADRs at Level 3.
A new gatekeeper role will be created for the person in charge of allocating claims to the appropriate level.