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MoJ releases latest figures for number of employment tribunal claims

View profile for James Champness

In the aftermath of Unison’s successful application to the courts that fees for employment tribunal claims should be abolished, the Ministry of Justice has recently published the tribunal’s quarterly statistics for the period July-September 2017.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, the number of claims lodged by a single applicant has increased by 64%, compared with the same period for 2016.  This figure is the highest for four years, tribunal fees having been introduced in 2013.  This sharp rise is suggestive of a number of claimants who might otherwise have been dissuaded from raising a claim if fees were still in place, and supports Unison’s claims that tribunal fees constituted a significant barrier to justice.

Conversely, the number of claims lodged by multiple applicants has decreased by 15%; it seems likely that this decrease can be explained by the fact that a large number of claims were brought by multiple applicants in relation to holiday pay claims over the last few years, but this surge of claims is now subsiding.

An obvious point for employers is that the increased workload for tribunals means that it can now take longer for tribunals to process claims and notify employers if a claim has been filed against them.  Accordingly, if an employee has left in contentious circumstances, it is worth erring on the side of caution before concluding that no claim has been filed.  The combination of the Acas early conciliation regime and increased workload of the tribunals means that it may be weeks or even months past the three-month time limit before an employer receives formal notification that a claim has been made against them.