For those practitioners with cases due to be heard at London (East) Tribunal in the next couple of weeks, be aware you may experience difficulties.
The tribunal is sending out letters cancelling hearings on the basis that it has "reached the full extent of the budget allocation for this financial year and, as a result, there is no remaining judicial resource available to hear your case."
I have made enquiries as to whether this affects all cases being heard before the end of the year, or just some of them. A listing officer at London (East) told me the position was unclear (and I was unable to speak with the Head of Listing), and he said the 'end of the year' referred to 5th April 2012.
The Tribunals Service Press Office told me that the position was "under review" and it was "possible additional funds would be allocated".
It may be that the lack of funds means London (East) cannot use fee-paid (part-time) judges, but the salaried (full-time) judges are still sitting. London (East) is generally quite reliant on fee-paid judges. Whilst this situation is obviously undesirable, congratulations to London (East) for grappling with the problem and notifying parties. It would be far worse to turn up on the day to find there was no judge available.