Employers potentially face greater responsibility and costs at Tribunals

Single claims have risen by 165% year on year, and the number of claimants with legal representation decreasing, employers are facing more responsibility and cost for Tribunals.

Recent statistics published quarterly by the Ministry of Justice reveal that Employment Tribunal claims in the three months between April and June 2018 have increased significantly. Receipts for single claims increased by 165% and multiple claims increased by 344% compared to the same period in 2017.

Lengthy delays

It is perhaps unsurprising then that in the same period, outstanding caseloads have also increased by 130%. The Judicial Appointments Commission has sought to help the situation by announcing plans to recruit 54 new judges to sit in the Employment Tribunal. However, it has been reported that they are not expected to take up their positions until 2019. Unfortunately, for litigants this means lengthy delays are likely to be faced in claims reaching final hearings as currently there are not enough judges to deal with the volume of claims.

The increase is undoubtedly a result of the Supreme Court’s ruling in July 2017 that Employment Tribunal fees were unlawful. The Government was ordered to refund all fees paid since 2013. The Employment Tribunal fee refund scheme launched in October 2017 and the latest statistics show that as at 30 June 2018, 12,400 refund payments had been made equating to £10,615.

More onerous and costly for employers

The figures also reveal a decrease in the number of litigants bringing claims without legal representation. In 2017/18, 74% of claimants were legally represented compared to 86% in 2016/17. In cases where claimants are acting in person, this can make the process much more onerous and costly for employers. The Tribunal is likely to require the employer who has legal representation to assume responsibility for certain tasks which the claimant would usually undertake, such as preparation of the trial bundle.

Full statistics published by the Ministry of Justice on 13th September 2018 can be viewed by visiting the Government’s website at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/tribunals-and-gender-recognition-certificate-statistics-quarterly-april-to-june-2018.

Should you find yourself facing a claim and require advice, please contact our Employment Team.