The quarterly tribunal statistics published on 8 March 2018, for the period from October to December 2017 showed that:
- The number of single claims received at the Employment Tribunals increased by 90%, which was the highest since the introduction of the fee regimen
- The number of multiple claims received at the Tribunals increased by almost 467%
- 3,400 refund payments of the Tribunal fee had been made, worth £2.8 million
The Role of ACAS Early Conciliation
Since May 2014, claimants were required to partake in the ACAS Early Conciliation, before submitting their claims in front of the employment tribunal. The latest ACAS statistics; therefore, are a good indicator of the number of possible claims being filed. The statistics also provide a measure of the efficacy of Early Conciliation in settling cases.
The ACAS statistics for the period April – June 2018 depict the following information:
- The number of notifications for Early Conciliation ACAS received were 33,171, which were 53% more compared to the number received in the equivalent quarter of 2017
- Out of these 33,171 notifications, 1,180 were of group claims covering 14,000 individuals, which implies that the total number of individuals was approximately 46,000
- Out of the total notifications made to ACAS:
– 12% (3,755) reached a settlement
– 65% (20,208) did not proceed to an Employment Tribunal
– Out of the remaining 7,086 (23%) EC notifications for claims progressed to an Employment Tribunal.
Employment Tribunal (ET) Statistics
According to the recent quarterly statistics published by the Ministry of Justice:
- Between April to June 2018, the number of single claims progressing to the Employment Tribunals rose by 165%, compared to the equivalent period in 2017. This rise in the number of claims is attributed to the abolition of the ET fees from 26 July 2017.
- In total, 12,400 refund payments, with a value of more than £10 million, were made under the ET refund scheme, between October 2017 and June 2018.
- A total of 536 claims received compensation for unfair dismissal in the year 2017-18, in which the maximum compensation award was £415,227, while the average amount was £15,007.
- The highest compensation award for a discrimination case was £242,130 (it was awarded in a case relating to disability discrimination)
In the meantime, minutes from the National Employment Tribunals User Groups Meeting Records for the month of September 2018, also indicate an increase of 165% in the number of singles claim. It would; however, take an approximate 200% increase to return to the pre-fee levels.
The minutes also record that at least one tribunal is listing longer cases as late as 2020. Users on Twitter reported that the Tribunals in Croydon and Manchester are listing longer hearings in 2021. The Justice Department; however, believes that the delays will be alleviated, as the appointment of new salaried and fee-paid employment judges takes place over the next few years.
Refunds of Employment Tribunal Fee
Till the end of December 2017, more than 4,000 refund claims were made and processed. The number could have been higher; however, the government only has information provided at the time of filing the claim. In the case of backlog claims; therefore, the government has obsolete claimant information and is unable to process the refunds.
To remediate the situation, individuals must come forward to claim the refund, instead of government tracing those who paid the fee previously.
For employers, who might have to repay the fees to a claimant (who paid the tribunal fee and had won), face the issue of whether the government refunds the fee to the claimant or if it refunds the fee to the respondent employer. Given the fact that several cases were settled and did not proceed to tribunal hearings, the fee refunds for such cases remains open.
Another issue that employers have is the increasing number of claims now that the individuals do not have to pay a fee to lodge an Employment Tribunal Claim and the fact that tribunals have now been slimmed down to deal with an average of 40,000 to 50,000 claims each quarter. In case the number of claims filed increase up to say, 100,000 for the same quarter, it would increase the time required to settle these claims.
The Road Ahead
There is a possibility that the increasing number of claims might reach to the levels before the introduction of the refunds, at some point. With the refunds in place, employees will be encouraged to file even the ‘frivolous’ claims, increasing the workload on the tribunals and the employers.
Therefore, employers must be aware of this possibility and tread carefully while designing their policies and procedures. Here, organization-wide training for managers, employees, and HRs will also have a significant role to play.
On the other hand, Employment Tribunals must prepare themselves to handle the increasing number of singles claims. Thus, they need to get more permanent and part-time judges onboard while working on increasing their efficiency.
Our no win no fee Employment Law Solicitors can assist with all types of claims . Naturally, we pride ourselves on providing the best possible service to the highest standards, we offer free employment law advice on all problems. Call us on 0800 756 6605 or020 3923 4777
Tom Street qualified in 2003 and had over 16 years experience in all areas of litigious law. He studied at the University of Manchester. He undertook his legal practice course at the College of Law in Guildford. He then, subsequently underwent his legal training specialising in employment law and litigation, at a firm in Chancery Lane, London.
Fully qualified, he moved to a niche litigation practice in the City of London.
In 2005, Tom set up his own legal practice, Tom Street & Co Solicitors and as part of this, in accordance with his strongly held objective to provide everyone with an easy pathway and readily available access to justice he established the online portals Do I Have A Case? and Tribunal Claim. These websites are trading names of Tom Street & Co Solicitors.