Notes from the National User Group, March 2015

With my Legal Officer at the Free Representation Unit hat on I go to the meetings of the Employment Tribunal National User Group.

From time to time I’ve written up some of my notes, on the basis that there was interesting information that could be usefully distributed further. This may become unnecessary, since HMCTS is making the minutes available. But, if only to draw attention to that, I thought at least one more post might be useful.

Note, however, that these are my best notes of the meeting and shouldn’t be read as any formal statement by any of the tribunal judiciary or HMCTS (any errors are mine alone). I didn’t get a full note of some of the detail, so that will have to await minutes.

Next year’s fee paid judges / members budget

This has been reduced, to reflect the fact that HMCTS expect fewer cases. It shouldn’t be regarded as a budget cut, because it’s based on the modelling of the case-load rather than trying to reduce costs. If there are more cases than expected there will be a case for more budget and that case will be made.

HMCTS Reform Programme

MoJ is doing ongoing reform work, including within the Employment Tribunals, focused in particular on IT and premises. This will start to affect the ETs in the next 12 to 18 months. Likely to be some changes users will like and some we’ll dislike.

Premises

Bristol and Nottingham have both recently moved into combined court premises. Initial feedback seems to be positive and HMCTS feels they’ve been able to maintain the informality of the tribunal while making efficient use of the premises estate.

Huntingdon moved into the law courts a few years ago and has been the only user. Due to changes elsewhere the Crown Court will be moving back in, partially displacing the Employment Tribunal. There will therefore be sittings in Cambridge as well as Huntingdon.

Pension Loss Guidance

The guidance booklet Compensation for loss of pension rights: employment tribunals, third edition is currently marked on the Gov.uk website as withdrawn. People who follow me on twitter may have seen that I was curious about this and so I raised a question.

The present position is as follows. Following the Court of Appeal judgment in Griffin v Plymouth Hospital NHS Trust the President of Employment Tribunals has formed a working group to consider whether there should be updated guidance. Any new guidance will be the subject of consultation. It may well take the form of Presidential Guidance, rather than a new booklet.

There has been no formal withdrawal of the 3rd edition guidance. Parties must take their own view on the extent to which, in any individual case, it is appropriate to rely on that guidance in the light of Griffin v Plymouth and what, if any, other material should be presented.

Remission

MoJ continues to work on the process for applying for remission. We can expect further changes in the Autumn.

Postponement Consultation

Slightly over 30 responses have been received. Given the timescales, the response is likely to be published after the election.

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