Further Drop In Employment Tribunal Claims

The latest statistics for Employment Tribunal claims have recently been released by the Ministry of Justice and, as expected, they reveal a further drop in the number of claims which have been lodged in the Employment Tribunals.

The statistics for April to June 2014 show a drop in claims of 70% compared with the same period in 2013 and a drop of one third compared to the previous quarter (January to March 2014).  This is the third consecutive quarter in which the number of claims has reduced.

Unsurprisingly, the number of appeals being lodged at the EAT has also declined significantly, with 25% fewer appeals being lodged in the financial year 2013/14 as compared to the previous financial year.

As for why the number of claims continues to decline, clearly the tribunal fee structure continues to have a major impact on the willingness of Claimants to bring claims; in addition, however, it appears (at first glance at least) that the introduction of the ACAS Early Conciliation regime (which became compulsory on 6 May 2014) is also having a significant impact.

UNISON has applied to admit new evidence at a preliminary appeal hearing against the decision dismissing its judicial review application challenging Employment Tribunal fees. The Court of Appeal has reportedly decided to stay these proceedings while UNISON bring fresh judicial review proceedings in the High Court.

When UNISON's original judicial review of the fees regime was dismissed, the High Court had observed that the challenge was brought prematurely and that, as a result, it lacked robust evidence. However, it suggested that the government may need to revise the fee regime if future statistics support UNISON's arguments as to the deterrent effect of the introduction of fees. It seems that the recent statistics showing the significant decline may have influenced the Court of Appeal's decision. UNISON has reported that the Lord Chancellor agreed that a new hearing should take place as soon as possible. We will report on the outcome in a future newsletter.