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Workers, marginalised voices and the employment tribunal system : some preliminary findings

Busby, Nicole and McDermont, Morag (2012) Workers, marginalised voices and the employment tribunal system : some preliminary findings. Industrial Law Journal, 41 (2). pp. 166-183. ISSN 0305-9332

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Abstract

This paper reports on pilot study research which sought to explore perceptions and experiences of vulnerable employees who attempted to use the Employment Tribunal (ET) system to resolve disputes. We interviewed clients of a Citizens Advice Bureau seeking to explore the concerns of those for whom the system potentially poses the greatest barriers—those who cannot afford legal advice and/or are not trade union members. We conclude that the ETs, and the mediating role played by Acas, produce barriers to justice for vulnerable employees. Furthermore, the role played by Citizens Advice is critical in reclaiming labour law’s public law function, by which private disputes between individuals are translated into matters of public concern.