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June 28, 2013 / Sian Moore

Corby and Latreille: New findings on outcomes of Employment Appeal Tribunals

The Government has changed the constitution of the Employment Appeal Tribunal (which hears appeals from Employment Tribunals). Now the default position is a judge sitting alone, replacing either a judge with two lay members, one representing employers, the other representing employees or a judge sitting alone but in some circumstances only.

Sue Corby, WERU member and Professor of Employment Relations at Greenwich, and Paul Latreille (Professor of Management at Sheffield) have examined 4800 appeals heard from 2001 to 2011 inclusive. They found:

  • Appellants have a better chance of success at an Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) when a decision is made by a judge sitting alone rather than with lay members, but the increase in success rates is more pronounced for employee-instigated appeals than for employer-instigated appeals.
  • For appeals brought by employers, this difference essentially disappears when other factors are taken into account including the nature of the appeal, the balance of legal representation and counsel, the number of appellants and respondents, and case complexity.
  • For employee appeals however, the difference in outcomes according to EAT composition remains significant when controlling for these other case characteristics.

Sue Corby says: ‘The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has said that lay members are unnecessary in the Tribunal system. This research suggests that this change may lead BCC members losing more appeals than before.’


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