On 13 March 2014, the Ministry of Justice published its quarterly Employment Tribunal statistics for October to December 2013.  Unlike the July 2013 to September 2013 quarter, there were no statistical anomalies caused by a rush to lodge claims before tribunal fees were introduced in July 2013.
The statistics make interesting reading, showing:
  • a 75% drop in the number of claims from the prior quarter – to be expected given the rush mentioned above
  • a 79% drop in the number of claims compared with the same period in 2012
The number of single claims has dropped from a monthly average of 4,000-5,000, down to 1,700.  There will be some revisions to the figures, as claims are now only counted as lodged once the relevant fee has been paid, whereas there were no fees in 2012.  There will be claims which have been lodged but not yet paid for, although this is unlikely to move the figures significantly.

The drop in claims can be broadly seen as good news for employers and bad news for employees.  While a reduction in malicious claims and claims purely intended to put pressure on employers is welcome, there are also serious issues over access to justice for employees.  Under the new system of Employment Tribunal fees, the cost of bringing a small but still significant claim, such as an unfair deduction from wages, can be as large as the claim itself.  Under these circumstances, we are already seeing the lower paid deciding that they will have to give up on recovering money owed, despite the system of fee remission.

We await with interest to see if the trend continues when the next quarter’s figures are release later in the year.

If you are an employee who would like advice on bringing an Employment Tribunal claim, or an employer who needs help to defend a claim, then please contact us today to speak to one of our expert employment law solicitors.

Backhouse Solicitors
01245 893400