Hard on the heels of last month's changes, the Government is bringing in the following new measures on Monday week – ie July 29:

  • Fees will be payable in the employment tribunal and EAT (see the Tribunal Service’s fees factsheet for more details)
  • Completely new rules of procedure will apply in the employment tribunal, with some amendments also being made to the EAT rules of procedure
  • An annual earnings cap will be introduced for compensatory awards in unfair dismissal cases
  • New rules on pre-termination discussions will apply, combined with a new ACAS code of practice
  • Compromise agreements will be re-named settlement agreements

Fees will not be charged if a case has already been issued by 29 July, though, with minor exceptions, the new rules will apply to cases currently in the system as well as new cases started from that date onwards. On the other hand the new earnings-based cap will not apply where the employee’s effective date of termination falls before 29 July, even if the resulting unfair dismissal proceedings are not started until after that date.

The impact of the fees, new rules and earnings cap will be immediately apparent, but it is harder to work out what will change as a result of the new pre-termination discussion regime and the re-naming of compromise agreements. We offer more details and our initial assessment of their likely significance here. However, the complete picture will not emerge for a while. Most significantly, the ambitious plan to introduce pre-issue conciliation for all claims will not be implemented until next year. In addition, while we now have the new code of practice, we are still waiting for the related guidance from ACAS.