Early Judicial Assessment on Employment cases
A new Protocol for Judicial Assessment of Employment Cases has recently been introduced.
In October 2016, Judge Brian Doyle, President of the Employment Tribunals in England and Wales issued Presidential Guidance in relation to the new Protocol for Judicial Assessment of Employment Cases.
Following your claim being issued at the Employment Tribunal you will be asked to attend a Case Management Hearing where all parties will attend and set down the timetable and Orders to be complied with in the case as well as try to clarify the issues between the parties. After the Case Management Hearing has taken place and the Orders have been agreed with the Employment Tribunal Judge that Judge will now offer the parties Judicial Assessment.
Judicial Assessment will only take place if all parties consent to it and is a confidential and impartial assessment by an Employment Judge of the strengths and weaknesses of the case as well as the risks of the parties’ respective claims, allegations and contentions.
Although the aim is to facilitate the resolution of disputes by agreement it is may also assist in encouraging settlement or narrowing the issues between the parties even where settlement cannot be reached and allow for settlement to be reached at a later date.
Any information or discussions that take place within the Judicial Assessment can be used in future ‘Without Prejudice’ discussions but cannot be disclosed to third parties or referred to in open correspondence and will not be considered in any Hearing if the case does not settle. The Employment Judge that conducts the Judicial Assessment will not be involved any further in the determination of the case following the Judicial Assessment so as not to influence the outcome should the case not settle.
Judicial Assessment is not, and is not intended to be, a replacement for Judicial Mediation but may in turn lead to Judicial Mediation. Judicial Assessment will give the parties an indication of the prospects of success which will not be done within a Judicial Mediation setting.
It is important to note that the Employment Judge conducting the Judicial Assessment will not evaluate or consider any evidence and will come to their view solely on the state of the allegations and give an indication of the strengths and weaknesses, risks as to liability and the likely compensation on remedy. Thus it may well be that a different outcome is reached if the case goes to a full Hearing after all of the evidence has been heard.
Judicial Assessment will not be appropriate in the following cases:-
where there are multiple claimants not all of whom request Judicial Assessment;
where a party is insolvent; or
where the High Court or other proceedings exist or are intimated.