In March 2014 we reported that the number of Employment Tribunal claims for the period October to December 2013 had dropped by a massive 79% compared to the same period in 2012. You can find our previous article here. This was the first quarter of figures following the introduction of fees in the Employment Tribunal in July 2012.
We have just had the latest reported figures for the period January to March 2014. These again show a sharp drop, with claims brought by single claimants (as opposed to multiple claimants) dropping 59% on the previous year. The biggest drop was in the number of claims for an unauthorised deduction of wages, which fell by a massive 85%. One reason for this fall in the number of claims for unauthorised deductions from wages may well be that people are now bringing such claims in the courts which have a more affordable fee system and where court fees are generally recoverable from the losing party.
Whilst the drop in Tribunal claims will be welcomed by many employers, there is certainly some anecdotal evidence that employees are being denied justice in low value claims. As we reported previously, Unison sought a judicial review over the introduction of Tribunal fees, and this application failed at first instance. One of the reasons for the failure was that, at the time, there was a lack of evidence about what the impact of fees would be. Unison has now been granted leave to appeal against this refusal, and the very significant drop in the number of claims over the first six months of fees will arguably strengthen their case.
We will keep you updated as to the outcome of the appeal.
If you would like to talk through a situation you are dealing with, or if you need advice on any aspect of employment law, please contact any member of the Pure Employment Law team (01243 836840 or [email protected]).