Get the information you need to practice law Quickly, Easily and No Subscription Required.
What is KnowHow?
Detailed Practice Notes written by our Professional Support Lawyers, guiding you through the key issues in each topic.
Civil courts and ADR - overviewHigh Court and County Court actions
Many employment rights arise from statute and can only be pursued in the employment tribunal. By contrast, the courts have their own inherent jurisdiction, and may deal with a wide variety of common law and other claims. The practice and procedure of the High Court and the County Court are governed by the Civil Procedure Rules 1998. Some employment-related disputes:
may also be brought in the High Court or County Court
may only be brought in the High Court or County Court
For example, both the civil courts and the employment tribunal can hear breach of contract claims up to a financial limit of £25,000. More valuable claims can only be brought in the civil courts.
The civil courts (and not the tribunals) have exclusive jurisdiction to hear employment-related claims such as:
tortious claims, such as stress, personal injury and negligence claims (except personal injury resulting from discrimination)
restrictive covenant, confidentiality and garden leave claims
discrimination claims outside the employment context, such as in relation to education and the provision of goods and services
For more information, see High Court and County Court actions.
Alternative dispute resolution
Alternative dispute resolution is conventionally understood to include four methods of resolving disputes other than litigation:
Not all cases are suitable for ADR, eg complex cases, or multi-party cases.
Mediation requires a degree of cooperation between the parties in dispute. It does not impose a solution on the parties, all discussions are confidential, there are no disclosure obligations, and the parties are free to find a commercial solution to such issues as they wish to include within the scope of the mediation.
Arbitration involves a private agreement to resolve disputes outside court, but in a judicial way. Usually, parties choose arbitration as their preferred means of resolving disputes at the outset, by including a provision in the contract.
In employment contracts, it is only possible to exclude the jurisdiction of Employment Tribunals to hear statutory employment claims if the agreement satisfies the conditions for compromise agreements. Using arbitration to resolve potential tribunal claims can therefore only be done voluntarily or via Acas.
As regards conciliation, Acas generally has a duty to conciliate in statutory employment claims once the claim has been presented. However, the duty generally only arises where one or other party requests their involvement. Any conciliated agreement will generally be binding on the parties. Unlike compromise agreements, a conciliated agreement may validly cover any disputes between the parties, including future disputes.
For further details, see Alternative dispute resolution.
To find out more about PSL Contact us or call 0207 400 2984