Recently Trade and Industry Secretary
Stephen Byers announced some welcome news for employers who have been
faced with time-wasting Tribunal claims that have been brought simply
to cause them problems.
The announcement introduced a whole range
of measures aimed at deterring employees or ex-employees bringing
cases which have little or no chance of success.
In outline, the measures are:
An increase in the amount of costs a
Tribunal can award for unreasonable or vexatious behaviour from £500
to £10,000. In addition, the costs awarded will be able to take into
account the behaviour of the claimant’s representative.
A new power for Tribunals to strike out
ill-founded claims that have no real chance of success.
Raising the deposit on pursuing weak
claims from £150 to £500
A strengthening of the management of
cases by Tribunals.
There is no doubt that this is welcome
news not only for employers, but also employees. From the employees’
side, it will free up the Tribunal system so that legitimate cases
should not be delayed. Employers on the other hand should no longer be
faced with weak claims they are forced to defend, resulting in a loss
of time and money.
At the same time as introducing these
measures, ACAS will be implementing a new arbitration scheme that will
provide an alternative to employment tribunals for unfair dismissal
The proposed implementation date of the
new Regulations is Spring 2001