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As from the 3rd October 2016 the employment tribunals have a new procedure available to them under which employment judges can give a confidential and impartial assessment at an early stage of proceedings of the strengths and weaknesses in both party’s claims.  It is thought this will be particularly helpful when there is a party to a case who is not legally represented – otherwise of course, the legal adviser would already have given guidance on this.  Naturally enough, it’s part of our role and part of what we would do for every claimant or respondent client, but if you do not have a legal adviser it may be very useful to have a judicial assessment such as this.

It is anticipated that the assessment will be offered at the first case management hearing, which is a hearing that considers preliminary issues in a case. Going ahead with assessment requires the consent of both sides in the case, whether they are claimant or respondent.  Where an assessment goes ahead, the judge making the assessment will play no further part in the proceedings in so far as they lead to a decision being made – except if it goes to judicial mediation, in which case they can act as mediator.  They can still conduct the day to day case management such as setting timetables to be adhered to by both parties to the case, but not any hearing where the case (or part of it) is decided.

This new procedure is designed to promote settlement at an early stage, and we would always say it is best to take advice before settling a case – in fact it is best to take advice before even starting a tribunal claim as it is quite a lengthy process with lots of pitfalls for anyone who is new to it.

As you might have guessed, this is something that Middleton Law Ltd can help you with – so if you are contemplating making a claim to the employment tribunal, why not get in touch.  The first phone call is free in any case, so there is nothing to lose!!

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