New online database of Employment Tribunal decisions expected Autumn 2016Print publication
From Autumn 2016 it will be possible to use an online search facility to access and obtain a copy of all new Employment Tribunal judgments. It seems likely that users will be able to search against a company’s or an individual’s name to obtain a full copy of any judgment issued (which can in some cases include details of any compensation awarded). It is not yet clear whether any fee will be charged to access this new register.
Until now, anyone wishing to view or search the register of judgments would have to attend in person at offices in Bury St Edmonds or Glasgow. Whilst the introduction of an online search facility might, at first glance, seem an unremarkable development there are potential practical consequences that employers should be aware of when conducting litigation in the Employment Tribunal. Firstly, if something is searchable online it is also potentially ‘shareable’ on social media. Employment judgements can sometimes be very critical of witnesses who didn’t ‘come up to proof’ and might go so far as to expressly state that a witness was considered to be untruthful. There may also be details and evidence given in sensitive cases which, if shared online, could have damaging consequences. Details of compensation awarded might encourage other employees to bring similar claims or it could raise settlement expectations. The forthcoming online availability of Tribunal decisions may therefore be a factor to take into account when deciding on litigation strategy in each case.
Note that the database will only include judgments issued from the date it goes live and there are no current plans to include historic judgments.