Increase in employment tribunal claims

the Impact

We have been monitoring the impact surrounding the abolition of employment tribunal fees. We recently reported on the increase of employment tribunal claims in March earlier this year. This article can be found here.

Employment Tribunal fees were introduced in 2013. Prior to their abolition in 2017, individuals had to pay a fee to bring a claim to the Employment Tribunal and a further fee to lodge an appeal to the Employment Appeal Tribunal. The level of the fee depended on whether the claim was categorised as a Type A or Type B claim. Type A claims started at around £160 e.g. wage claims, breach of contract, and Type B claims started at around £250 e.g. unfair dismissal and discrimination. The fees for a further hearing were £230 for Type A and £950 for Type B claims. To lodge an appeal to the Employment Appeal Tribunal attracted an additional £400 lodging and £1,200 hearing fee. These fees acted as a deterrent to individuals who could not afford to bring such claims against their employers.

In July 2017, the UK Supreme Court declared in R (on the application of Unison) v Lord Chancellor that employment tribunal fees were unlawful. Since this decision individuals have been able to bring tribunal claims or Employment Appeal Tribunal cases without being charged a fee.

In our March Employment Bulletin we noted that Employment Tribunal claims had increased by 90% since the abolition of fees. We can now confirm that, in the period between January to March 2018, 9,252 single claims were received. This is an increase of 118% from this quarter in 2017.

These increases have led to a significant burden on both administrative and judicial resources. In response to this, the Employment Tribunals are looking to recruit 54 additional salaried judges.

Refunds

After the abolition of fees, the Employment Tribunal Refund Scheme was introduced to allow individuals to claim for a refund if they brought an Employment Tribunal claim between 29 July 2013 and 26 July 2017. A total of £6,555,600 was refunded in the period between October 2017 and March 2018. The Government has estimated a total of £32.5 million is due to be refunded.

The law and practice referred to in this article or webinar has been paraphrased or summarised. It might not be up-to-date with changes in the law and we do not guarantee the accuracy of any information provided at the time of reading. It should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice in relation to a specific set of circumstances.

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