In written evidence to the Women and Equalities Select Committee, the CBI argued against the re-introduction of statutory questionnaires. As a result, the government has stressed that it does not the see the re-introduction of statutory questionnaires as appropriate.
The government said:
“Statutory questionnaires were introduced with the Sex Discrimination Act 1975. The intention was that they would act as a method by which employees or former employees who felt they had been discriminated against could ask simple questions of their employer or former employer to help them decide whether they should bring a case. The questionnaires, and the ability of tribunals to draw inferences from a late, non-existent or evasive response, had no parallel elsewhere in employment law and were, in part, meant to address a general lack of awareness in the 1970s of what constituted unlawful discrimination.
As the Committee notes from the evidence it received, the questionnaires, as a form of pre-hearing disclosure, became a legal battle between potential claimants and employers, with both parties often using lawyers to prepare the questions and answers. To some extent this process is inevitable where the questionnaires have statutory force and direct legal implications. We do not see the reintroduction of statutory questionnaires as appropriate to present day conditions, and do not see it as viable to try to tailor the questionnaires in such a way as to prevent them being used as pre-hearing legal exchanges.”