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The Employment Lawyers Association's (ELA) response to the call for a single employment law court argues for a radical overhaul of employment tribunal services. The ELA’s Richard Fox looks at how costs, technology and alternative dispute resolution could be reformed.
A hare was set running two years ago when the outgoing president of employment tribunals in England & Wales, David Latham, proposed the creation of a single employment court to hear all employment disputes.
This was at a time when the effect of the introduction of tribunal fees in July 2013 was beginning to be felt, with around three-quarters of all employment tribunal claims effectively disappearing from the system.
There was also concern that there was some illogicality in the division of cases between the two different types of court.
For example, breach of contract claims are allowed only in the employment tribunal at the end of the employment relationship, and even then up to a limit of £25,000.
Such claims may be brought without limit in the High Court or county court. Retiring Judge Latham envisaged one single court that would hear all employment claims and manage all the stages of the litigation process, including offering an in-house alternative dispute resolution (ADR) service.
The ELA surveyed its members in April 2015 and some 64% believed a single court would be an improvement on the current system. It then set up a working party to look at the issue in detail, and has recently published its report.
It concluded that a debate arou