The Coalition Government is looking to get to grips with a range of weighty issues – the growing UK deficit, rising inflation, reducing public spend, and also the beleaguered employment tribunal system (see my blog post: Tribunals and Tribulations).
The signalled intent to overhaul a creaking tribunal system has received a mixed reaction from lawyers and employers alike. CBI director-general John Cridland recently described the current employment tribunal system as “broken” but even the reform measures haven’t secured the support perhaps envisaged.
Prime Minister David Cameron has vowed to make sweeping changes to create a vision of “…the most pro-business, pro-growth, pro-jobs agenda ever unleashed by a government”.
At the heart of the problem appears to be many employers concerned that the reforms will not be sufficient to weed out those applications without merit – which currently suffocate the efficiency of the existing process. Whilst business leaders welcome the registration fee concept, they are far from convinced about the non-fundable fee element.
Employment lawyers are concerned about the inherent fairness of the proposals. Owen Warnock, partner at Eversheds has said,
“Many of the claimants are people who’ve just lost their jobs so they don’t have very much money. Saying to someone who’s been unfairly dismissed ‘you can’t win your claim unless you put a lump of money in’ doesn’t seem a very fair way of offering them recompense”.
So what’s your view – should the Government press ahead with the registration and non-refundable fee concept, or tackle weeding out spurious claims?