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Bar welcomes Employment Tribunal changes

The Bar Council has welcomed the introduction of the new Employment Tribunal as well as the reformed rules and regulations which will now govern its practice and procedure.

According to the Council, the previous tribunal system had “failed to keep pace” with and therefore no longer catered for the needs of Gibraltar’s “modern and sophisticated employment environment”.

The Council said its detailed and comprehensive submissions during the initial consultation process and its input on the draft rules and regulations produced there from have assisted the Ministry for Employment and Business and been taken into account in large measure.

“We agree with the Ministry that the introduction of mediation, the improvement of the procedural forms used, the availability of wider case management powers for Chairpersons and the extension of the Tribunal’s jurisdiction to cover other related employment claims can, if properly implemented, result in earlier and more cost-effective resolution of claims and disputes by amicable agreement between the parties as experienced in other jurisdictions.”

The Bar Council added that it hopes that these reforms will provide Gibraltar with a modern forum for the resolution of all employment disputes that is not only fit for purpose but notably improves access to justice and the manner in which it is delivered.

The Council remains in discussions with the Government on some aspects of the package of reforms that, it said, would require further adjustment if the objectives of maximising the success of mediation, a more efficient handling of cases and the swifter production of judgments is to be facilitated.

The Council stated it is hopeful that agreement will be possible in these areas.

“We look forward to seeing the Employment Tribunal in action, supporting our members and working with the Ministry during the implementation stages of the new structures.”

The Council further welcomes the provision of a bespoke judicial training course for Chairpersons at the University this week by the National Judicial Training Panel of the Employment Tribunals of England and Wales.

The course was favourably received by the attending Chairpersons whose task it will be to implement the comprehensive new body of rules that govern the practice and procedure of the Employment Tribunal, the Council said.

It has acknowledged the ‘vision, determination and endeavour’ of Neil Costa and his team – in particular his Ministry’s Legal Counsel John Paul Fa – in their delivery of these initiatives.

The Council has also acknowledged the work of its committee members Kenneth Navas and Andrew Cardona, also assisted by Gabrielle O’Hagan, who have led its participation in the consultation process held by the Ministry.