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Judicial Assessment in the Employment Tribunal

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The President of the Employment Tribunal has given guidance on a new process of Judicial Assessment in Employment Tribunal cases.

Judicial Assessment involves a confidential and impartial assessment by an Employment Judge of the strengths, weaknesses and risks of the parties claims, allegations and contentions at a relatively early stage in proceedings.  It is envisaged by the Employment Tribunal that such an early assessment “may assist the parties in identifying what the case is really about, what is at stake, and may clarify and narrow the issues and encourage settlement”.

It will only happen with the consent of both parties and will usually take place at the end of a case management hearing, after the other formalities of the hearing, such as making case management orders, have been complied with.

If Judicial Assessment does go ahead, it may involve the Employment Judge also giving his or her assessment of liability and any potential remedies.  As it will be done at an interim stage, the Judicial Assessment will be an assessment without a full evaluation of all of the evidence and facts of the case.  It is therefore non-binding and the Employment Judge will make clear that the Employment Tribunal hearing the case may come to a different view.  The Employment Judge who gives the Judicial Assessment will then usually play no further part in any stage of that particular case where a determination of the parties’ rights may be given.

Judicial Assessment will not be appropriate for all cases and it remains to be seen how attractive this will be to parties and how successful it will be in its objectives.  For more information, and for advice on any of the issues contained in this article, please contact a member of our employment team.