Oh lay member, lay member, wherefore art thou?
The Government has announced that it proposes to develop a fast-track system for employment tribunals to deal with simple monetary claims. This ‘fast-track system’ will involve five jurisdictions: unlawful deductions from wages claims; breach of contract claims; redundancy pay claims; holiday pay claims; national minimum wage claims. It is likely that employment judges will sit alone to determine such claims, without the assistance of lay members.
The announcement came from the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, Pat McFadden, in response to a question in Parliament about what assessment he had made of the Gibbons Review recommendation that employment judges sit alone in more straightforward cases.
Mr. McFadden said that the Government fully acknowledge the valuable and important contribution which lay members make to the tribunal system. However, consultation had revealed support for employment judges to sit alone in determining cases involving issues of a purely legal nature and in straightforward monetary cases.
The Government therefore propose establishing a fast-track system for dealing with simple monetary claims involving five jurisdictions where claims potentially raise straightforward issues and therefore potentially could be determined without the need for a tribunal hearing, i.e.: (i) unlawful deductions from wages; (ii) breach of contract; (iii) redundancy pay; (iv) holiday pay; and (iv) the national minimum wage.
Claims falling within these jurisdictions that are combined with other jurisdictions outside the list, will not be eligible for a fast-track determination.