Tough new measures to strengthen the employment tribunal system were announced by Trade and Industry Secretary Stephen Byers today.
The changes proposed to the tribunal rules are intended to make the system quicker for reasonable claims and deter spurious claims.
The costs that can be awarded for unreasonable behaviour are to be increased from £500 to £10,000.
There will be a new power for tribunals to strike out ill-founded claims.
The deposit on pursuing a weak case will be increased from £150 to £500, and the management of cases by tribunals will be strengthened.
Alongside these changes, Acas will also be introducing a new arbitration scheme that will provide an alternative to employment tribunals. It will allow employers and employees to resolve unfair dismissal claims through voluntary arbitration.
The proposals will become law in Spring 2001, subject to a period of consultation and parliamentary approval.