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Advocacy: Qualifications

Volume 498: debated on Tuesday 27 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what assessment he has made of the adequacy of regulation of companies offering representatives without appropriate legal qualifications to represent parties in employment tribunals; and if he will make a statement. (294924)

Parties attending employment tribunals are not required to have representation, legal or otherwise and if they wish to use a representative it is a matter for them, and there is no requirement for the representative to be legally qualified. However, all businesses who represent claimant parties in employment tribunals must be authorised under the Compensation Act 2006, (unless they are exempted), and are required to comply with strict rules of conduct which includes a requirement that they are competent to provide the claims management service. The impact of regulation has been independently assessed on an annual basis since regulation commenced in April 2007. The latest report concluded that in the employment sector

“there has been no significant impact of regulation”.

However, to make a significant impact on poor quality representation, the report proposes that competency tests would be required, which would take years to establish and more resources being devoted by the Regulator. We are currently considering the findings of the report with key stakeholders.