Tribunal system merged in a bid to help claim processing

The Government has announced plans for the biggest shake-up of the
employment tribunal system in 40 years.

Lord Chancellor Lord Irvine is proposing the introduction of a unified
Tribunals Service to attempt to modernise the system and improve the efficiency
of legal services.

The unified system aims to bring together at least 10 tribunals covering
areas including employment, pensions, immigration, criminal injuries
compensation, mental health and disability, with responsibility split among
five government departments.

Lord Irvine said the move aims to set common standards across various
tribunals, improve their accessibility and streamline administration.

However some experts doubt the changes go far enough to improve a service
which is already under immense pressure.

While he welcomes changes to improve efficiency of the employment tribunal
system, Makbool Javaid, employment partner at DLA was concerned that the
service would fall short of what is needed. "This seems to be a half-way
measure. It could have gone further," he said.

Javaid said the introduction of family-friendly legislation in April and
more discrimination laws at the end of the year will increase pressure on
tribunals and the proposed changes may not be enough to cope.

The reforms were recommended by senior judge Sir Andrew Leggatt in a in a
review of the system. A White Paper will be published later this year giving
details of the changes.

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