Examination of Witnesses

Part of Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 10:40 am ar 19 Mehefin 2012.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Tim Thomas: In terms of the number of claims, the latest figures I saw from BIS—in fact, they were published last year—indicated that there were about 400,000 cases in the ET that were unresolved. The ETs have some KPIs, including, I think, resolution within 26 weeks, and there are many cases that do not reach resolution within that time period. There are, therefore, many claims floating around the ET that are unresolved. To an extent, the proposals in the Bill are an admission of that state of affairs, given the suggestions for rapid resolution and early conciliation. We are talking about preventing claims from getting to the ET in the first place. I have to say that we support that idea.

In terms of the wider aims of what we should be doing in the ET, we should be incentivising settlement at the earliest possible opportunity. There are various other measures that could be used in conjunction with this Bill, and the one that I would highlight is fees for litigants. That is a consultation that closed with the Ministry of Justice some time ago. The use of fees to incentivise earlier settlement is another tool that can be used to attack the large number of litigants that go to ETs. They may think twice if they have a fee to pay.