Employment Tribunal claims triple since abolishment of fees
The number of Employment Tribunal claims being brought has increased by 64% in the last quarter (July 2017 – September 2017), indicating that the abolishment of Tribunal fees in July 2017 has had a significant impact on employees’ ability to bring forward claims.
On 26 July 2017, the Supreme Court in its judgment in R (on the application of Unison) v. Lord Chancellor held that the Employment Tribunals and the Employment Appeal Tribunal Fees Order 2013, SI 2013/1893 (the Fees order), which came into effect on 29 July 2013, was unlawful under both domestic and EU law because it had the effect of preventing access to justice. Since it had that effect as soon as it was made, it was therefore unlawful and must be quashed.
As a result, from 27 July 2017 fees for Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal claims are no longer charged. All fees previously paid and not subject to a full remission are now eligible for a full refund. In addition, cases that were closed due to non-payment of a fee are now eligible for reinstatement at the stage at which the case was originally closed.
The latest statistics from the Ministry of Justice reveal that since Q2 2014/15 single claim receipts have remained relatively stable, with around 4,200 claims per quarter, until this recent quarter where it increased to 7,042 single claims.
Claims to the Employment Tribunal may be classified into two broad categories – singles and multiples. Multiple cases are where two or more people bring cases, involving one or more jurisdiction(s) usually against a single employer but not necessarily so, for instance in TUPE cases, and always arising out of the same or very similar circumstances. As a multiple, the cases are processed together.
Tar Tumber, HR Consultant for International Workplace, comments:
“It is now even more important that employers ensure they follow due process when managing staff; and train their managers in employment procedures. Whilst this might not prevent claims from being made, it may mean the difference between winning or losing, and certainly should help reduce any compensatory payouts that are ordered.”