In the past employment tribunals have been far and few between, however recently they have become increasingly common with the amount of employment tribunals doubling over a period of the past 12 months.
The Ministry of Justice said that the amount of outstanding single cases had increased by 130% compared with the second quarter of 2018 and same period of 2017. This has therefore spread fear among employment lawyers as the system increasingly struggles to cope with the influx in claims and cases that are taking more time to come to justice.
Further evidence that the caseload of tribunals is increasing is the fact that statistics from the Ministry of Justice show that 10,966 claims were made between April and June this year, compared to 4,241 complaints being received during the same period in 2017, an increase of 165%.
This increase can be attributed to the fact that in July 2017 tribunal fees were abolished by the Supreme Court after it ruling that they were unlawful and unconstitutional. Andrew Willis, the head of legal at CIPD HR – inform stated that “without the requirement to pay a fee to have a case heard, more employers are likely to face challenges”. The pressure of having to fund a tribunal case has been withdrawn and therefore there is no need for employees to worry when considering opening a new case.
Not only does the increase in cases effect the judicial system, it also effects the amount of work needed to be done within a business. This increase in cases leads to higher levels of administrative work needing to be done in order to make sure that no mistake is made throughout the entire case, some which may last as long as a year before even going to court. This is seconded by Dan Begbie-Clench a partner at Doyle Clayton who stated that employers are having to increase administrative efforts and assign more resources to dealing with the tribunal cases.
In order to combat the length of time it is taking for cases to come to trial and to reduce the work load of those already overseeing the cases the judicial Appointments Commission launched a recruitment exercise to employee 54 salaried judges to meet the demands of the fee-free system. This therefore raises the question as to where the funding is coming from for the judge’s salaries given the abolishment of fees. As well as he hiring process additional sitting days for tribunals have been allocated to cope with the demand.
The government took immediate action to stop charging fees when the Supreme Court made their ruling and further vowed to refund any claimants who had paid a fee between 2013-2017.
After observing the severe increase in just the first quarter after abolishing the fees in 2017, employment tribunals increasing by 66%, the then Lord Chancellor David Lidington said that the government intended to bring back employment tribunal fees in another form.
Therefore, given the significant increase in tribunals, it is vital that a business has the most advanced and interactive HR team in place in order to make sure that the chances of a case being brought against the business are low and if a case is on the horizon that the business is in the best position to deal with the situation.
If you have any queries regarding this article or believe that your business could benefit from using the professional HR services provided by HPC then please do not hesitate to contact one of the HPC team:
T: 0844 800 5932