Unified Tribunals Service takes over employment disputes

Twenty one tribunals from across government departments will be brought together in a single organisation from today.

The Tribunals Service is an executive agency of the Department for Constitutional Affairs, which is already responsible for 16 tribunals, including those that hear appeals about immigration, tax and freedom of information.

These are joined in the new service by tribunals dealing with employment disputes, benefits, special educational needs and disability, criminal injuries compensation and mental health.

In 2001 the Leggatt Review recommended that the only way to make tribunals truly independent and to help them improve service levels was to bring them together in a single service as part of the Department for Constitutional Affairs.

Lord Falconer, secretary of state for constitutional affairs, said: “The Tribunal Service will deliver real benefits in a key area for improving justice, particularly for the disadvantaged and vulnerable. Bringing them together under a single agency will reinforce the independence of tribunals from the departments whose decisions they review.î”

The service will have to meet performance targets to address peopleÍs difficulties sooner, to help reduce the stress and financial difficulties that often result from disputes.


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