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The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has introduced a raft of changes to the employment tribunal rules and Acas early conciliation process with the intention of giving the systems more capacity considering the global pandemic.

The changes allow for more flexibility over virtual hearings and for legal officers to now carry out some tasks currently performed by employment judges. These include:

  • considering acceptance or rejection of claim forms
  • extending time to submit a response and/or for compliance with case management orders
  • giving permission to amend claims and responses when both parties consent
  • ordering further information
  • dismissing claims by consent upon withdrawal

However Legal Officers (who do not have to be legally qualified) will not be expected to deal with substantive matters, these will remain with the employment judges.

Employers may also be pleased to hear that the current rules are changing to permit the use of the same forms to respond to multiple claims where it is reasonable to do so.

Furthermore, the Acas Conciliation and tribunal rules are being amended to allow greater flexibility in handling minor errors.

These measures to the tribunal will be rolled out on 08 October 2020 and to Acas early conciliation on 01 December 2020.

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