A recent review by the Law Commission, an independent body set up to reform the law, looked at the jurisdiction of employment tribunals and the areas where they share jurisdiction with the civil courts to hear employment and discrimination claims. The body said: "It found a range of issues including unsatisfactory gaps in employment tribunals’ powers which can mean that claimants have to bring two sets of proceedings because the tribunal cannot deal with all their claims."

Among a series of proposals aimed at improving the operation of employment tribunals and ensuring fairer outcomes to grievance claims, the Law Commission has recommended an extension to the time limit for people to bring claims to employment tribunals from the current three months to six months.

It has also proposed that tribunals should have the power to extend time limits in all cases when they consider it "just and equitable" to do so. Another major proposal put forward by the commission is for an increase in the powers of tribunals so they can decide claims of breach of contract brought by employees and workers while they are still employed.

Many employment lawyers see the mooted changes as beneficial in the era of Covid-19 because they could lead to more agreements, settlements and preservation of employee-employer relationships.

Russell-Cooke associate Jeremy Coy comments on the implications of these reforms and what they might mean for tribunal claims should they be implemented.

Law Commission aims to extend time limits for employment tribunal cases is available to read on the Personnel Today website.

Jeremy is an associate solicitor in the employment team. He has experience acting for large institutional employers as well as small and medium size businesses.

Jeremy also advises employees and senior executives, often at short notice on sensitive work-place issues such as restrictive covenants, discrimination and pay-related disputes on bonuses, commission and incentive plans. He has particular experience in advising on settlement agreements and negotiating favourable severance payments for employees.