The much-maligned statutory dispute resolution procedures are due to be repealed in April when the Employment Act 2008 is brought into force. This means that there will be no more automatically unfair dismissals for procedural unfairness and employees will no longer be prevented from issuing proceedings without first raising a grievance. The law will return to how it was before October 2004, when the dispute resolution procedures were introduced.
The ghost of the procedures will live on in a slimmed-down version of the ACAS code of practice, which largely replicates the key procedural requirements of the old regime. There will still be sanctions for failing to comply, but these will be limited to 25 per cent of the compensation that would otherwise be awarded, and the employment tribunals will have more flexibility in applying them.