The DTI has, today, laid the Employment Tribunals (Consitution and Rules of Procedure) Regulations 2001 (SI 2001/1171) before parliament. They are due to come into force on 18th April 2001.
The main changes from the existing 1993 Regulations are as follows:
• new reg. 10 inserts an overriding objective to enable tribunals to deal with cases 'justly'.
• consolidation/simplification of rules relating to directions regarding evidence.
• costs rules amended to make it clear that the unreasonable conduct of a party's representative may be taken into account when deciding whether to order costs.
• costs rules also amended to introduce a DUTY to consider costs in certain circumstances, including where proceedings had no reasonable prospect of succes
• costs rules also amended to increase assessment limit from £500 to £10,000
• the word 'frivolous' in the tribunal's power to strike out 'frivolous' etc. cases has been replaced with 'misconceived' - this would appear a wider power to strike out
NB the Regulations have not yet been posted on the HMSO website, but no doubt will appear there soon.
In addition, the DTI has given a firm(er) timetable for introduction of the much-heralded ACAS arbitration scheme for unfair dismissal claims. Full guidance will be available in April, and the scheme is expected to commence in late May 2001.