Clause 4

Part of Employment Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:30 am on 14 October 2008.

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Photo of John Hemming John Hemming Liberal Democrat, Birmingham, Yardley 11:30, 14 October 2008

This comes down to the good old article 6 question of whether people are having a fair hearing. The bigger issue that needs clarification is proposed new subsection (3AB). Logically, if both parties agree that there should not be a hearing, there will not be one. That is entirely fair. There is a point about fast track. If we aim to resolve things prior to tribunal in the conciliation process, one would hope that there was a fast track in initial determinations to suggest such a resolution.

We see no reason why the word “only” should disappear, although it seems otiose in the circumstances, as the tribunal would have to be given a power to determine something without a hearing. Therefore if it does not have that power, it will not be able to determine it without a hearing. That should be limited. The circumstances are reasonable, but some clarity is needed under proposed new subsection (3AB) because employers who feel that they have responded and are then told that their response does not count would have a real problem. Perhaps the Government should considering tabling an amendment on Report.