The Tribunal Service is currently experiencing a huge backlog of cases, which may in part be linked to the current climate in that the number of unfair dismissal and redundancy cases is on the increase. Tribunals have struggled to cope with the backlog and to balance the quota’s on timescales to hearing. We have seen this on the front line with case after case being postponed at the last minute due to a lack of Judge. A recent recruitment drive for Judges is yet to filter through.
Now in Cardiff and East London the Tribunal Service is piloting evening Tribunals in response to feedback from Tribunal users that this is a better time of the day to avoid work commitments. If the trial is a success it will be rolled out across the country. The evening hearings will take place between 6pm and 8pm and this time slot is clearly not sufficient for a full hearing but the more straight forward cases such as wages claims, pre-hearing reviews and case management discussions could take place then. The time slot can be used for any short case which does not require a panel. The hope is that this will ease the backlog somewhat.
We will have to watch this space and how the six month trial goes but for us employment lawyers the day could have just got longer!