Dramatic Fall in Employment Tribunal Cases
Figures released by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) show a large decline in the number of claims received by the Employment Tribunals after the introduction of fees at the end of July this year (see link below).
From 29th July a fee of up to £250 is charged to bring a single claim. A further fee has to be paid before the case goes to a hearing. The hearing fee for an unfair dismissal case, the most common type of individual claim, is £950. In multiple claims fees are charged on a sliding scale depending on the number of applicants, for example the fee for over 200 applicants claiming unfair dismissal is £5,700.
Single claims by an individual against an employer for unfair dismissal and other complaints fell in September to only 1,000 cases. Previously numbers of such claims had been running at around 4,000 per month. Multiple cases which involve two or more applicants have also reduced.
In July, before the fees were applied, there was a spike in the numbers of new cases as these rose to 7,000. LAG believes that many solicitors, trade unions and other employee representatives, had been advising their clients to bring claims before the fees were brought in.
According to the MoJ, the number of cases is likely to be revised upwards in subsequent months, as a case is not recorded in their data “until either the fee has been paid or remission has been granted.” LAG believes that while there might be some adjustment to the figures the number of new claims will still have substantially fallen as many employees will be discouraged from bringing cases because of the cost.
Prior to July no fees were charged to bring cases to an Employment Tribunal. Many Unions will pay the fees for their members, but the majority of the workforce are not in a union. LAG believes the introduction of fees is proving to be a substantial barrier to access to justice for many employees.
Unison, the trade Union, has brought a judicial review against the Government’s decision to introduce the fees for employment tribunal cases arguing that it was in breach of European Law. The case is expected to finish today, 23rd of October. It is not know yet when the court will give its decision.