The Employment Rights (Dispute Resolution) Act, enacted on 8 April 1998, sought to make significant changes to the procedures relating to employment tribunals. In particular it proposed a scheme for ACAS arbitration of unfair dismissal claims which has now come into effect. This article describes the key features of the new scheme and discusses its underlying policy aims. It also raises operational, legal and human rights issues which may arise. Whilst reported views of the parties to employment tribunal hearings reinforce academic support for arbitration as a means of resolving employment disputes, this article seeks to evaluate its merits. More fundamentally, it argues that strengthening the present employment tribunal system and in particular the pre‐tribunal conciliation procedure, may have been preferable to the creation of a new and free‐standing scheme. It concludes with a review of this new ‘third way’ in employment dispute resolution.
ASJC Scopus subject areas