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Employment tribunal postponements set to be curbed

The government is seeking views on proposed legislation that would restrict adjournments in employment tribunal hearings.

The consultation, which was launched on 16 January and will close on 12 March, sets out a proposal that if one party involved in the case has already been granted two adjournments, for either a preliminary or final hearing, a third would be refused.

It also proposes that requests for adjournments be refused if made less than seven days before the hearing date. However, the restrictions would not apply in:

  • exceptional circumstances
  • where both parties agreed to the adjournment and the tribunal believed it would help them to reach a settlement
  • the adjournment has been requested for a reason outside the person’s control, for example late disclosure of documents by the other side.

In these circumstances, an adjournment could be granted but the tribunal would consider whether a costs order should be made.