The government has now published its response to its consultation on amendments to employment tribunal postponement procedures. The level of response to the consultation was relatively low and, unsurprisingly, the government has decided to proceed with all of the proposals. In summary, these include:

  • Once a party has been granted two postponements, further requests for postponement will only be made in exceptional circumstances;
  • The setting of a deadline of ‘less than 7 days before the planned date of the hearing’ after which applications for a postponement would not be allowed, except in exceptional circumstances; and
  • Tribunals will be obliged to consider costs in the event of short notice postponements.

It is not intended that the new rules will apply where the postponement is agreed by both parties, and the tribunal believes it is desirable in order to facilitate settlement, or in circumstances where the tribunal considers that a postponement is required due to an act or omission by the tribunal or another party to the claim.