"In a fascinating judgement handed down today, the Court of Appeal has delivered a robust, compelling and bold defence of the employment tribunal and judicial system". So said Employment law solicitor, Daniel Barnett, in his e-newsletter last Friday about "Red" Lord Justice Mummery's recent judgement.
Now, I must admit that I think there are indeed serious problems with the employment tribunal system. For me the system is unfairly biased against workers and I would like to see it reformed and rebalanced otherwise.
But, the present government is pushing ahead with plans to get rid of many of the already basic and minimal employment protection and enforcement rights that British workers "enjoy".
So, since we already have possibly amongst the worse employment rights in Europe already it is actually a relief to read that a very senior judge believes that the existing system works and therefore (by implication) does not need to be watered down any further.
The judgement makes a number of points but I think No. 20 is compelling "...as for those who complain about the time taken and the legal costs and other expenses and losses incurred, I think that they would want the hearings to be conducted in the interests of justice to both sides. I have seen very few constructive suggestions for practical improvements. If workers are given rights, there must be properly qualified, impartial and independent tribunals to adjudicate on them in accordance with a fair procedure. If workers are not given the necessary means for the just adjudication of their claims, procedures of a more rough and ready non-judicial kind may be used. The alternative procedures would probably not be impartial, independent or just, and are unlikely to do much for public order, social harmony or national prosperity".