Online tribunal judgments: unwelcome spotlight on employers?
There is a new searchable online judgment database for employment tribunal judgments. This improved accessibility could lead to the media taking an interest in cases that previously would have gone unnoticed.
The new site has the potential to be a well-used resource:
- It makes it considerably easier to search for judgments: previously this would have entailed a visit to Bury St Edmunds (for tribunals in England and Wales) or Glasgow (for Scottish cases).
- It includes a search function, which allows the database to be narrowed very quickly by area of law or date, or via a free search. Aside from the media, this could be used by employees, and employee-representative groups, to search for judgments relating to colleagues or a particular employer.
- Judgments often make for interesting reading, typically containing a detailed narrative of the facts in a case: employers’ actions; employees’ responses; and tribunals’ evaluations of these.
- Although tribunal decisions are not binding on later cases (only decisions of the Employment Appeal Tribunal or higher courts) they can still provide a useful illustration of how tribunals have approached particular issues.
The site covers Scotland, England and Wales. It will include all judgments from 27 February 2017 onwards (with a few older ones). For now, there are no plans to provide online versions of all older judgments, but users can attend the locations above and search for these in person as they could previously.
All judgments will be included, other than in rare cases where there are issues of national security or a tribunal has otherwise restricted reporting of a case. Address details for parties in a case will not be visible.
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