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Call to abolish Employment Court

Call to abolish Employment Court

With the undoubted success of the employment Mediation Service, and the Employment Relations Authority, it's time the Employment Court was abolished, says the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern).

"The Employment Court has passed its use-by date," said Alasdair Thompson, EMA's chief executive.

"With the creation of the Supreme Court, employment cases have five tiers for legal redress, more than for any other type of dispute or even crimes.

"These are the:

* Mediation Service, a remarkable success of the Employment Relations Act 2000 and one we have often applauded for its timeliness and low expense resolutions;

* Employment Relations Authority, also created under the ERA 2000 which and also a notable success;

* Employment Court, which is redundant. It should be replaced by the High Court for appeals of employment cases;

* Court of Appeal;

* Supreme Court, which is authorised to hear appeals on employment cases unlike in the earlier era when employment cases could not be taken on appeal to the Privy Council.

"People dissatisfied with their hearing by the Employment Relations Authority should be able to take their case direct to the High Court.

"At the very least the Employment Court should be stripped of its ability to hear employment cases as though for the first (de novo) time.

"De novo hearings in the Employment Court are simply no longer appropriate for handling what are in effect appeals. The High Court is the proper place for these.

"The Employment Relations Authority has proved its value so well that should the need arise, litigants should be able to take appeals directly to the High Court.

"There is no longer a demonstrated need to retain a specialist employment court when we now have specialist and effective processes in place in the form of the employment mediation service and the Employment Relations Authority.

"EMA made this recommendation to the Select Committee hearing on the Employment Relations Law Reform Bill last week as part of our review of the ERA 2000 and what is required to build better employment relationships."

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