A new arbitration scheme from Acas designed to stem the rising tide of
tribunal cases could lead to an increase in formal procedures, an expert has
The alternative dispute resolution scheme is set to come on stream this
month, some 18 months behind schedule. It is eagerly awaited by employers, who
face an increasing threat of legal action.
But Willy Coupar, director of the Involvement & Participation
Association and chair of the DTI’s Partnership Fund, said claimants were likely
to pursue arbitration as an alternative to an out-of-court settlement rather
than a tribunal hearing.
"A very large number of complaints never get to tribunal," he
"They are either resolved through Acas conciliation, are withdrawn or
are settled elsewhere. It is likely that the arbitration process will draw in
many of the cases presently resolved elsewhere."
Growth in the use of the law would continue, he predicted, and arbitration
would "add another option".
Arbitration will not be bound by legal precedent. Decisions will be binding
and confidential with no chance of appeal. The maximum £50,000 compensation for
unfair dismissal will apply.
Jerry Gibson, assistant director of operations at Acas, said despite the
lack of an appeal, employers backed the scheme. "The informality of the
hearings, the fact that it is an industrial relations solution as opposed to a
legal decision-making process and the fact that it is confidential may be