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> GOVERNANCE - home > Employment protection legislation database - EPLex > United Kingdom

United Kingdom - Avenues for redress (penalties, remedies) and litigation procedure for individual complaints


Avenues for redress (penalties, remedies) and litigation procedure for individual complaints - United Kingdom - 2019    

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Compensation for unfair dismissal - free determination by court: Yes

Remarks:
  • Section 123.1 Employment Rights Act states that: Subject to the provisions of this section and sections 124 [F1, 124A and 126] , the amount of the compensatory award shall be such amount as the tribunal considers just and equitable in all the circumstances having regard to the loss sustained by the complainant in consequence of the dismissal in so far as that loss is attributable to action taken by the employer.

    New in 2013: As per the Enterprises and Regulatory Reform Act, 2013 (art. 15), the Secretary of State may propose the amendments to the art. 124 of the Employment Rights Act, so as to decrease or increase the amount of the compensation for unfair dismissal.

Reinstatement available: Yes

Remarks:
  • Sec. 112, 111, 114, 115 ERA: If the Employment Tribunal is satisfied that the dismissal is unfair, it shall first consider to issue an order of reinstatement or re-engagement. However, if no such order is made (i.e because the employee does not wish to be reinstated or it is not practicable for the employer), the tribunal shall make an award of compensation for unfair dismissal.
    In practice, reinstatement or re-engagement is rarely ordered. According to the latest statistics of the Employment Tribunal (April 2011 - March 2012), in only 0.1 % of all cases of unfair dismissals upheld (excluding dismissed cases) were reinstatement or re-engagement orders issued.

Preliminary mandatory conciliation: Yes

Remarks:
  • Sec. 18 (A) Employment Tribunal Act: “Before a person (“the prospective claimant”) presents an application to institute relevant proceedings relating to any matter, the prospective claimant must provide to Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) prescribed information, in the prescribed manner, about that matter. (2)On receiving the prescribed information in the prescribed manner, ACAS shall send a copy of it to a conciliation officer.
    (3)The conciliation officer shall, during the prescribed period, endeavour to promote a settlement between the persons who would be parties to the proceedings.
    (4)If—
    (a)during the prescribed period the conciliation officer concludes that a settlement is not possible, or
    (b)the prescribed period expires without a settlement having been reached,
    the conciliation officer shall issue a certificate to that effect, in the prescribed manner, to the prospective claimant.
    (5)The conciliation officer may continue to endeavour to promote a settlement after the expiry of the prescribed period….
    (7) A person may institute relevant proceedings without complying with the requirement in subsection (1) in prescribed cases.
    The cases that may be prescribed include (in particular)—
    • cases where the requirement is complied with by another person instituting relevant proceedings relating to the same matter;
    • cases where proceedings that are not relevant proceedings are instituted by means of the same form as proceedings that are;
    • cases where section 18B applies because ACAS has been contacted by a person against whom relevant proceedings are being instituted.”

Competent court(s) / tribunal(s): labour court

Remarks:
  • Sec. 111 ERA: The Employment Tribunal Act has jurisdiction over complaints of unfair dismissal.
    New as of 6 April 2012 The Employment Tribunals Act 1996 (Tribunal Composition) Order 2012 added unfair dismissal to the kinds of claim which can be heard solely by an employment judge in the employment tribunal, rather than by three panel members as was previously required.

    Alternatively employees may also sue employers for breach of contract/wrongful dismissal in civil courts. However civil courts do not have jurisdiction over claims of unfair dismissal as defined by the ERA.

Existing arbitration: Yes

Remarks:
  • Voluntary arbitration scheme for unfair dismissal claims through ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service).