ADR for employment lawyers: lessons from the Civil Justice Council?

This article was first published in the ELA Briefing March 2019.

Author: Peter Frost

With the abolition of tribunal fees, the number of claims has increased considerably. But greater access to justice is only meaningful if that system of justice works efficiently and employment lawyers have misgivings as to the operation of the current Employment Tribunal Service. Therefore, it seems propitious to re-examine ADR as a means of resolving employment disputes.

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Is there a role for ADR in employment disputes?

The Global Pound Conference (GPC) Series is a unique and ambitious initiative to inform how civil and commercial disputes are resolved in the 21st century, collating views from over 4000 people at 28 conferences spanning 24 countries worldwide. Herbert Smith Freehills teamed up with PwC, IMI (International Mediation Institute) to identify key insights emerging from the extensive voting data, summarised in the ground-breaking Global Pound Conference report. The report identifies a strong preference amongst potential litigants for a flexible dispute resolution approach and a focus on collaboration over representation, with in-house counsel being the most likely agents of change. These themes certainly chime with a recent but growing interest in ADR in the employment sphere: the desire for efficiency in time and cost is acute, given the low value of many employment claims, and the potential for confidential resolution and in some cases a desire to preserve a valued individual relationship makes ADR an obvious option.

In the article here, the Herbert Smith Freehills employment team consider the relevance of the GPC data in the context of employment disputes in the key jurisdictions of Australia, France, Germany, Spain and the UK. We discuss the availability – and pros and cons – of various ADR methods for employment issues in those jurisdictions. One of our London partners, Peter Frost, and Paul Goulding QC of Blackstone Chambers co-chaired various reports on this issue by the Employment Lawyers Association’s Arbitration and ADR Group, and the article also reflects on those findings. Continue reading

UK: Arbitration – its growth, practical uses and limitations in an employment law context

There is a growing appetite to resolve employment disputes by arbitration.  This is the finding of the UK Employment Lawyers Association (ELA) which published its Report on Arbitration and Employment Disputes in November 2017.  The Report, a product of over two years of research, conducted by ELA’s Arbitration and ADR Group (chaired by Peter Frost of HSF and Paul Goulding QC of Blackstone Chambers), concludes that arbitration clauses are increasingly found in partnership and LLP agreements, deferred remuneration scheme rules and contracts of employment.

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Singapore: Tripartism Updates

Labour policy in Singapore has long been handled collaboratively by the Government, employee unions and employers in what is known as the tripartism movement. This movement has now been formalised through the setting up of a corporate body, Tripartite Alliance Limited (TAL), which will subsume the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Practices (TAFEP) as well as a newly created body, the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management (TADM).

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