Dramatic fall in Employment Tribunal figures

Submitted by carolyn on Thu, 13/03/2014 - 15:44

13 March 2014

By Carolyn Jones

On 13th March 2014 , the Ministry of Justice published the latest ET statistics, showing the type and volume of Tribunal cases received, disposed of or outstanding for the third quarter of the financial year October to December 2013.

The statistics make depressing reading. They’re only the second quarterly figures to be published since the introduction of fees and the first that are un-skewed by the numbers rushing to submit claims before the introduction of fees in July 2013.

And what do the figures reveal? As all those concerned about access to justice have warned, the number of ET cases being taken has fallen dramatically. That means employer bad practices are being increasingly unchallenged.

There was a 79% drop (compared with the same period in 2012) in the number of applications made to Employment Tribunals. The number of single claims has dropped by about 63% from a monthly average of between 4,000 - 5,000, down to 1,700.

In employment tribunals, the number of claims received in October to December 2013 was 9,801 – 79% fewer than in the

Across all the Tribunals (Social Security and Child Support, Immigration and Asylum, and Employment Tribunal), there were a total of 223,246 cases or claims disposed of in October to December 2013. This represents an increase of 19% on those cases disposed of in the same period in 2012, and is the highest volume of disposals in a quarter since the start of this statistical series in 2008/09.

In the Employment Tribunals, the number of cases disposed of reached 34,767 claims during October to December 2013, 36% higher than the same period of 2012. Of those, the number of disposals for single claims decreased by 32% while the number of disposals for multiple claims more than doubled, a massive 119% increase.

Of those disposed, it’s estimated that around 348 (1%) were dismissed either on the decision of the judge under the new procedural rules or because claimants failed to pay the required fees.

In October to December, 58,833 jurisdictional claims were disposed of which:

  • 27% were for Working Time;
  • 16% were for unfair dismissal;
  • 13% were for equal pay;
  • 11% were associated with discrimination (age, race, sex, sexual orientation, religion or disability)

Fees for Employment Tribunals and the Employment Appeals Tribunal were introduced for claims received on or after 29th July 2013, alongside other procedural changes following the Underhill Review of Employment Tribunal Rules.

It seems the reforms are having the desired effect. These figures expose the lowest number of receipts since this statistical series began in 2008/09. Moreover, in the past, the number of cases lodged has been greater than the number of disposals. This quarter is only the third time in five years where more tribunal claims were disposed of than received.

In February 2014, UNISON lost its application for a judicial review aimed at removing Tribunal fees. The High Court claimed that, as the fees were only introduced in July last year, it was too early to make a decision about the full impact of the fees.

This downward trend in the statistics is just one sign that the fees are just another way of denying working people access to justice.

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