We are certain that you’ve never read a more enticing heading.
Since abolishment of employment tribunal fees in July 2017, we have seen a steady increase in claims being lodged against organisations. The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has now published statistics for the period July to September 2017.
Before fees were abolished, the number of single claims i.e. those made by a single claimant against one employer, had been steady for a number of years at around 4,200 claims per quarter. In the quarter July to September 2017 there were 7,042 single claims issued. Compared to the same period in 2016, this represents an increase of 64%, unsurprisingly the highest in four years.
Interestingly, during the same period multiple claims, those claims involving multiple claimants, decreased by 15%. The report by the MoJ does not provide any information about where these claims are going or why there has been such a decline. It could be that now there are no fees, claimants are finding they no longer need to bring multiple claims funded by a trade union, and instead it is easier to bring a single claim.
During the period of July to September 2017, the number of single claims “disposed” of by tribunals was down 1%, which meant an increase of disposal of cases by 2 weeks.
What this means that an average single claim case is taking 28 weeks to go through the tribunal system from start to finish. No reasoning is provided in the MoJ report for this, but it is understandable that an increase in claims with no corresponding increase in resources would result in claims taking longer to go through the tribunal system. This is consistent with our experience.
The key takeaway points are:
- Organisations are likely to see an increase in claims being made
- Single claims will take longer to reach a hearing. We are aware that tribunals are introducing strict time limits to follow to combat extended tribunal processes, but without additional resources, especially judges, this may be in vain
- There will be delays in organisations receiving correspondence/documents from the tribunals. We have experienced this through a number of our own matters.
With these statistics in mind, it is now the time for organisations to ensure that the correct policies, training and contracts are in place to avoid being on the receiving end of a tribunal claim.
To find more about employment tribunal statistics please visit: Tribunals and Gender Recognition Statistics Quarterly, July to September 2017 (Provisional).