It is one year now since the Employment Tribunals (Constitution and Rules of Procedure) Regulations 2004 brought into force reforms to the tribunal system. The reforms, together with the changes to the statutory dispute resolution procedures, were designed to promote resolution of grievances in the workforce rather than in tribunal.
However, the CBI has commented in a recent report, "Restoring faith in employment tribunals", that despite the reforms, business is losing confidence in the employment tribunal system. The report highlights business concerns that the tribunal system is too complex, too costly and too adversarial. The report reveals a tendency among smaller businesses to settle weak claims rather than incur the cost in terms of time and money of a tribunal claim.
The CBI recommend that tribunal chairmen apply common sense to the new procedures rather than concentrate too much attention on the technicalities. The CBI also recommend greater consistency in approach by tribunals in different parts of the country and a greater frequency of cost awards made against complainants who lose their weak and vexatious claim. It remains to be seen whether the CBI's recommendations will be taken forward and faith in employment tribunals restored.