There is no better illustration of the cyclical nature of employment law legislation than the fate of the statutory dispute resolution procedures. Introduced (despite widespread opposition) in 2004 they were dead in the water by late 2006 when the Government announced a root and branch review led by Michael Gibbons. In his report, published in March 2007, he recommended their abolition.

The Employment Bill, currently before Parliament, repeals all the provisions of the Employment Act 2002 that relate to the statutory procedures, as well as the amendments to the Employment Rights Act that make dismissals in breach of the procedures automatically unfair. Instead the law of unfair dismissal will revert to the pre-2004 position, but employment tribunals will be given the power to adjust compensation by up to 25 per cent where there has been a breach of a relevant code of practice. Assuming the Bill survives in its present form, these changes are unlikely to be implemented before April 2009.

For the Employment Bill 2007 click here.