The Employment Tribunal statistics for January to March 2018 have been published and they show a dramatic 118% increase on the same period in 2017.

The Employment Tribunal fee system was in place from 29 July 2013 to 26 July 2017 before the Supreme Court decided it restricted access to justice and was unlawful in the landmark case of R (on the application of Unison) v Lord Chancellor [2017] UKSC 51. Although not a flood, the increase in claims is significant. Since the last quarter of 2014/15 the average number of claims was 4,300 per quarter. In January to March 2018 this almost doubled to 9,252. In response to the increased workload the Tribunal service is recruiting and looking to appoint another 54 salaried employment judges.

The increase in claims is a cause of concern for employers because while a 118% increase in claims does not mean there is a 118% increase in employees winning awards, there is generally no benefit for an employer in being taken to the Employment Tribunal regardless of the result. Whether the claim fails, is withdrawn or is struck out, management time is lost and legal costs are generally unrecoverable. For that reason the ACAS Early Conciliation procedure and the option to resolve a claim with a commercially sensible Settlement Agreement or COT3 has never been more important.

Employment Tribunal Fee Refund Update

The latest statistics show that while some of the estimated 100,000 claimants who were wrongly charged fees and are eligible for a refund are seeking the monies owed more needs to be done. Between 01 January and 31 March 2018, 4,400 refunds were paid (out of 4,800 applications received) with a value of £3,799,500. With an estimated refund pot of £32.5 million it is clear that many who are owed money still have not received it and should apply.

For further assistance or advice about the topics raised in this blog please contact our Employment Law Department either:-

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