Partner, Veale Wasbrough Vizards
The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) has launched a consultation to seek views on whether adjournments should be restricted in employment tribunal proceedings.
In particular, it seeks views on the following proposals:
1. A party will not be allowed a third adjournment, regardless of the type of hearing for which its previous two adjournments have been granted.
2. An adjournment will not be granted if it is made less than seven days before a hearing.
3. However, points 1 and 2 will not apply if:
- there are exceptional circumstances
- both parties agree to the adjournment and the tribunal believes it is desirable to facilitate a settlement, or
- the adjournment is requested for a reason beyond the party's control
In these circumstances, an adjournment may be granted but the tribunal must consider whether a costs order should be made.
The proposals suggest that it will become increasingly difficult to obtain adjournments in the employment tribunal. If applications are made, they should be supported with evidence or agreed with the other side.
The consultation closes on 12 March 2015. Any interested party should seek to express its views and keep an eye on any legislation which may develop as a result.