Testimonials from Members of the Judiciary

President of the Employment Tribunals (England & Wales)

"The Employment Tribunals were set up over 50 years ago with the intention that they would be user-friendly and capable of being negotiated easily by litigants in person. Of course, the reality is quite different. As the Tribunal’s jurisdictions have grown, so too has the complexity of the underlying law and procedure. Considerable emphasis is now placed on identifying the issues, considering alternative dispute resolution, bringing cases to a prompt hearing and doing so within an achievable hearing preparation timetable. While this is all designed to ensure that litigants in person – whether claimants or respondents – obtain a timely and fair hearing, they are clearly at a potential disadvantage if they cannot obtain objective advice and assistance on merits and on procedure at an early stage of case management. Against that background I pay tribute to the volunteers at London Central and Cardiff Employment Tribunals who have made the Employment Lawyers Association’s Employment Tribunals Litigants in Person Support Scheme (ELIPS) such a success. I echo the comments of my judicial colleagues. ELIPS not only helps litigants in person to navigate the Tribunal process, but it also helps us to make the best and most efficient use of judicial time and resources, which thereby promotes the best interests of all Tribunal users and the administration of justice."

Judge Brian Doyle

London Central Employment Tribunal

“The ELIPS scheme at London Central had become a very welcome fixture every Thursday.  Such is their popularity that the volunteers usually have a queue of people outside their door but they are very good at prioritising urgent cases and asking the people who do not have a hearing that day to wait.  With their help litigants in person have been able to define issues at Preliminary Hearing stage and conclude successful settlements at mediations as well as make applications and contest simple claims.  Litigants have reported that, with support, they feel much more comfortable and therefore able to think more clearly and Employment Judges are delighted that good progress can be made in difficult cases, I am often asked “is ELIPS here today?”.  We also observe that the volunteers benefit from getting to know the Employment Tribunal system better, improving their knowledge and also (for those who usually act for respondents) seeing what life is really like on the other side of the fence.  Long may the scheme continue – and indeed expand - there is so much to be done.”

Employment Judge Joanna Wade

Cardiff Employment Tribunal

“Cardiff’s ELIPS scheme has been running since October 2016 and has been of huge benefit to the parties, representatives on the other side, administration staff and judiciary. The ET is now able to target preliminary hearings to be heard on ELIPS days where help is most needed in clarifying claims and issues. Typically, the claims are those with complex discrimination and/or whistleblowing complaints. As well as on the day representation, the clinic also provides drop-in advice for parties who do not have hearings, when time allows.
The clinic volunteers make an important contribution to ensuring access to justice and can provide an early assessment of merit, of value to both sides.
Judges have reported being able to deal with cases far more efficiently on the day due to ELIPS intervention and being able to reduce listing length, freeing up judicial and ET resource for other claims to progress.
We hope to persuade more volunteers to become involved so that the clinic can run more frequently than once a month; there is certainly the need for it.”

Regional Employment Judge Barry Clarke and Employment Judge Sian Davies