Employment tribunal claims rise in wake of fee decision

Employment claims have soared since the Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that fees were unlawful

Figures revealed by the Ministry of Justice in August show that 3045 single cases were filed – a month-on-month rise of 124% and an increase of 109% on August 2016.

Minutes of a meeting of the National User Group of Employment Tribunals earlier last week reported that numbers were rising again, which is confirmed by MoJ statistics covering the third quarter.

The number of multiple cases increased from 75 in July to 181 in August, meaning total cases increased 125% to 3,226.

Senior Counsel at international firm Taylor Wessing, Vikki Wiberg, said the figures should force employers to take notice of the changed landscape in employment law, with employees no longer dissuaded from making claims. She added: ‘Tribunal fees might have given employers a false sense of security, enabling some to relax their management practices on the assumption that employees wouldn’t pay £1,200 to take their claims to the employment tribunal.

‘Whilst this was not to be recommended, these statistics bear out how urgent it is for employers to get their house in order.’

Employment law expert Darren Newman said the government may have to rethink cuts to the courts system after fees artificially kerbed the number of claims. He tweeted: ‘The big employment law question for 2018 is whether the tribunal system will cope with a large and sudden rise in the number of claims.

‘Will we go back to the days of cases taking over a year to get to a hearing and waiting rooms full of “floating’”cases?’

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