I noticed today that MP Christopher Chope has sponsored a Private Members' Bill which would see a cap on the awards which can be made by an Employment Tribunal.
The Tribunals (Maximum Compensation Awards) Bill 2010-11 will be debated in the House of Commons tomorrow, 17 June 2011, as part of the second reading stage. The Bill would cap all awards in unfair dismissal and discrimination claims at £50,000. Unfair dismissal awards are currently capped at £68,400. Discrimination awards are currently uncapped.
It is important to note that procedural barriers mean that Private Members' Bills rarely become law. Often debates cannot be completed within the small amount of time awarded to them, and only those Bills which have the support of at least 100 members can be put to a vote. This effectively blocks out all but the most supported Bills. Those which do pass the second reading stage will require Government support to proceed through the later stages.
Accordingly, it is unlilkely that this particular Bill will make it onto the statute books.
However, we mentioned in our June e-bulletin , the Government itself has already promised to consider a cap on discrimination awards as part of its on-going review of employment law - despite the fact that this is likely to conflict with the UK's obligations under European law.
So, watch this space - I'm sure we've not heard the last on the subject.