The employment tribunal system is struggling to cope. In the latest annual report from Acas, figures showed that the number of employment tribunal cases had rocketed in the past 12 months.
Since last year’s Supreme Court ruling abolished claimant fees, the number of tribunal cases has increased by a whopping 39% according to the latest statistics. No longer required to pay the £1,200 fee, the number of claimants has increased substantially. This has resulted in the employment tribunal system handling 26,012 cases in 2017/18 compared to 18,647 the previous year.
“The number of people deciding to pursue a tribunal claim has definitely increased since the Supreme Court decision to scrap fees” said Acas chairman Sir Brendan Barber.
In a further indication of the impact the removal fees has had, according to Ministry of Justice figures, single employment tribunal claims increased by 118% between January to March 2018. By contrast, multiple claims actually fell by 40%. The number of cases outstanding for both single and multiple claims rose significantly. As a result, the Judicial Appointments Commission sought to recruit 54 new employment tribunal judges, in an attempt to address the backlog. According to employment judge Brian Doyle who is president of the employment tribunal, the courts had not recruited new employment judges for more than five years. Refunds of fees already paid totalled £6.5M by the end of March (around 7,700 cases). Unfair Dismissal remained the most frequent ground for complaint received by the Employment Tribunal Service. It accounted for 53% of all cases last year. Issues relating to the Wages Act and Breach of Contract were the 2nd
most frequent causes of complaint (36% and 33% of cases respectively).
If you are worried about the prospect of employment tribunals in your business, read about how you can minimise the risk of these occurring in our 9 point guide here . Alternatively, contact us for a chat about how we can help.