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The research catalogue is an archive of ESRC-funded grants and outputs. Links, files and other content will no longer be maintained or updated after April 2014.

The role of lay/non-legal members in employment rights cases

Employment rights cases are determined at Employment Tribunals by an Employment Judge sitting often, but not always, with two lay members, one with experience as an employer, the other with experience of representing workers. All three have equal decision making powers.

This research project investigates whether and how lay members add (and are perceived to add) value as judges in such cases. Thus it will examine the circumstances in which lay members sit on cases and their contribution, including whether there are minority decisions; success rates; and differential appeal rates (judge alone/full tribunal); as well as the views of the Employment Judges and the lay members themselves, plus other stakeholders such as representatives of the parties and key civil servants. Information on the role of lay members in other UK tribunals and labour courts abroad will also be gathered, so that comparisons can be drawn.

The methodology will involve searching the judgments of Employment Tribunals and the Employment Appeal Tribunal, together with interviews with tribunal user organisations, representatives and key civil servants, and questionnaires to Employment Judges and lay members. The findings will have significant public policy implications for what is now a key employment relations institution.