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Chambers & Partners
02/02/2014

Employment Tribunal Archive to be Saved

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Robin White from Old Square Chambers has taken the lead in ensuring that the archive of Employment Tribunal Judgments dating back to the 1960's is to be saved for posterity.
 
As part of a process of examining avoidable costs in the legal system, the Ministry of Justice was planning to dispose of the unique paper archive presently stored in Bury St Edmunds. The Ministry had identified that the demand for copies of Judgments as part of the litigation process fell off considerably after 5-6 years from promulgation. The National Archive at Kew had been asked whether they wished to take the records but had declined. However, the value placed on this archive by the academic legal community had not been identified. In future only the last 6 years of Judgments will be retained by the Tribunal Service on a rolling basis.
 
Concerned about the effect of the disposal, Robin wrote a letter to ‘The Times’ in December identifying the potential loss of legal heritage and was thereafter contacted by a veritable posse of eminent academic lawyers and senior Judges. The Ministry of Justice were persuaded to permit a short moratorium on the destruction of the archive whilst Robin circulated both the practising and academic legal worlds to see if a long-term home could be found. Fortunately, Derby University Law School expressed enthusiasm for taking the archive and making it publicly available. Formal discussions are now taking place between Derby University and the Ministry of Justice and the shredders have been called off.
 
Robin White said:
 
"I am pleased to have been the catalyst in preserving this unique archive of an important area of legal practice for future generations. Undoubtedly the legal and academic weight of those who responded to my raising the issue helped to ensure this positive outcome."
 
A considerable number of individuals and organisations within the legal world have pledged support for the costs involved in preserving the archive, in particular its transport from Bury to Derby. These pledges will be passed on to Derby University who are now leading the process through the Head of their Law School, Kevin Bampton.

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Robin White from Old Square Chambers has taken the lead in ensuring that the archive of Employment Tribunal Judgments dating back to the 1960's is to be saved for posterity.

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