Your guide to the employment tribunal reforms

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The HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has announced plans to reform employment tribunals so that they are more efficient for all parties involved.

Employment tribunals can be vital in resolving disputes between employees and employers, however, in a world where convenience and instant access are considered a given, it is time that the tribunal claims process joins the digital age.

What do the employment tribunal reforms involve?

The reforms aim to deliver a digital case file, an interactive case progression system and automation of some processes currently carried out by solicitors and other professionals, such as HR personnel and union representatives.

The project will make the process of applying for and running employment tribunals more efficient. This will be achieved through the design and launch of a digital system that is accessible for parties and their representatives, and that enables the service to be conducted online from start to finish.

The digitisation of employment tribunals will provide evidence management and case presentation, and diminishes the need for paper files.

When will employment tribunals go digital?

Around 96% of employment tribunal claims are already received via the current online system. However, the reforms aim to further improve the user journey and will include improvements to forms, the ability to respond to claims and make applications, view case progress, and more user-friendly language.

The HMCTS is working towards the first release of a ‘private beta’ but it is likely to be just an early working version of the new digital system. Access will be restricted, and only those who receive an invite or live in one of the chosen test regions (Leeds and Glasgow) will have access at this early stage. The private beta stage aims to test the system and gather feedback to improve it ahead of a more general rollout.

Can I still use a paper form?

Whilst the reforms are taking place, any party that wishes to use paper ET1 or ET3 forms can continue to do so. However, the HMCTS will process these digitally.

Further information

If you are unable to reach a settlement with your employer or employee, you may need to take the matter to an employment tribunal.

Our employment law solicitors have extensive experience in representing both employees and employers at employment tribunals. For further information or advice, call us on 0117 325 2929 or fill out our online enquiry form.


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