Originally Reported in 2009 - The Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary Jack Straw has announced that High Court Enforcement Officers (HCEOs) will be given the power to recover employment tribunal awards and settlements reached through ACAS conciliation.
The Justice Secretary said that 39% of people granted awards have not been paid and only 53% have been paid in full. In a written statement to Parliament he said the Government was:
"...determined that individuals who were entitled to their Employment Tribunal awards or ACAS settlements are not denied access to justice by a small minority of unscrupulous individuals or companies who refuse to respect the award or settlement."
The problem of unpaid Tribunal awards was highlighted in a report entitled "Justice Denied" produced by the Citizens Advice Bureau in October 2008.
A working party comprising MoJ officials and representatives of the High Court Enforcement Officers Association has been set-up to develop and implement the service which will enable creditors to commission HCEOs to enforce their award or settlement as soon as the respondent fails to pay. The cost of the enforcement will be mainly recoverable from the respondent.
The proposal has been warmly welcomed, not only by those in government, but also among trade union representatives and the advice sector who see the intervention of HCEOs as helping to protect vulnerable workers whilst also ensuring that rogue employers can no longer avoid their responsibilities.