Professor claims statutory dismissal procedures will be in place until 2009

Human resources professionals could be stuck with the statutory dismissal procedures for another two years, a leading employment lawyer has warned.

Dispute resolution rules are to be redrawn by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, with an annoucement expected shortly.

But Ian Smith, the Clifford Chance professor of employment law at the Norwich Law School, University of East Anglia, said that removing the existing procedures would not happen overnight and could drag on until April 2009.

Smith told delegates at the CIPD conference in Harrogate this week that the dispute procedures were a “cock-up” that had led to a 15% increase in tribunals since their introduction in October 2004.

The number of tribunal cases rose from 115,039 in 2005-06 to 132,577 last year.

Smith said the current procedures were “a classic case of good policy, but inappropriately inflexible and prescriptive regulation”.

In March, the government published the Gibbons Review on the statutory dismissal and grevience procedures.

“A key suggestion in the Gibbons report is that the procedures should be replaced by much more guidance on what generally fair procedures should contain,” Smith said.

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