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Is the drop in tribunal claims here to stay?

Jonathan Mansfield Saturday, April 16, 2016

Is the drop in tribunal claims here to stay?

Figures have been released for claims in the Employment Tribunal for the last quarter of 2015.  The numbers provide a useful comparison with previous years and give an idea of what the trends are.

Single claims in the tribunal give the most accurate picture of the trend.  This is because the figures can be distorted where there are multiple claims such as local authority equal pay cases.

The number of single claims submitted in the last 3 months of 2015 was 4,388.  This number is very close to the numbers in 2013 and 2014.

We are therefore looking at a consistent fall of over 70%! 

Employers will welcome this trend.  Many will also argue that this shows that the frivolous claims taking up so much time and money have been excluded.  However, the statistics do not bear this interpretation out as the number of claims which are ultimately successful remains in roughly the same proportion as they were before the legislative changes came in. There may be fewer claims than in the past but a proportion remain frivolous.

Clearly, the explanation for the fall in claims is the introduction of tribunal fees together with the use of early conciliation by ACAS.  Many claims that would have required a full response by an employer are being dealt with the help of the ACAS process.

The Government set up a review of the impact of Employment Tribunal fees in June 2015.  It is understood that this review has been completed and for some reason the report is being sat on by the relevant Minister since at least 7 October 2015.  It is not clear what is preventing publication and it would seem appropriate that both employers and employees should know whether the regime is here to stay or not.

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