Tribunals clamping down on postponements of hearings


2 mins

Posted on 16 Feb 2016

The Government has confirmed that from April 2016 a party that has been granted two hearing postponements in the same case will only be granted a further postponement in exceptional circumstances. Likewise, postponement applications made less than seven days before a hearing (or made at the hearing itself) will only be granted in exceptional circumstances. This will apply to all hearings, including preliminary hearings. 

Tribunals will also be required to consider making a costs or preparation time order in cases where a successful postponement application is made less than seven days before a hearing. Tribunals will have regard to a party’s ability to pay and those with a justifiable cause would not be issued with a costs order. 

The new rules will not apply where:

  • the parties agree on the need for a postponement and the tribunal believes it desirable in order to facilitate settlement; or 
  • the tribunal considers that a postponement is required due to an act or omission of the tribunal or another party to the claim. 
  • The Government also intends to add a further exception where a last minute postponement is requested for reasons of ill-health related to an existing long term health condition or disability. 

    The Government will also publish guidance for tribunal users to help ensure they understand when a postponement application may be appropriate and the potential implications of making repeated or late notice applications.

    The articles published on this website, current at the date of publication, are for reference purposes only. They do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific legal advice about your own circumstances should always be sought separately before taking any action.