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ACAS Report That Employment Tribunal Cases Have Increased By 39.5% Since The Abolition Of Fees

Acas have stated in their annual report that there has been an employment tribunal cases increase of 39.5% since the scrapping of fees on the 26th July 2017.

Acas Report: Employment Tribunal Cases Increase By 39.5%

In their latest annual report, Acas state that their has been an employment tribunal cases increase of 39.5% since the abolition of fees, following the Government’s defeat in the Supreme Court on the issue of fees on the 26th July 2017. In terms of statistics, the report confirms the following:-

  • During the 2017/18 financial year, Acas handled 26012 cases that were referred to the employment tribunal, compared with 18647 claims during the 2016/17 financial year, an increase of 7365 (i.e. 39.5%). Nevertheless, given that the financial year runs from the 1st April – 31st March, part of the 2017/18 financial year includes the final period prior to the abolition of fees. Accordingly, the headline figures of a 39.5% increase probably understates the true level of the increase. Indeed, figures released by the Ministry of Justice state that the number of single employment tribunal claims increased by 118% during the period January – March 2018. This was up from a 90% increase during the previous quarter (October – December 2017). These statistics highlight that as time has gone by, the increase in the number of employment tribunal cases has accelerated.
  • Acas early conciliation notifications have increased from around 1700 per week to approximately 2200 per week.

As a result of the sharp employment tribunal cases increase, 54 new judges are being sought by the Judicial Appointments Commission to deal with the backlog of cases. This follows a survey by the Employment Lawyers Association (ELA), which found that 90% of respondents to the survey had experienced a delay in an application being addressed, and that 45% had experienced the cancellation of a hearing due to a shortage in judges and other judicial resources. Richard Fox, the chair of ELA’s tribunal resources working party, stated at the time that the ELA survey report was published back in April 2018, that: “Our findings are deeply worrying. Tribunals are plainly under intense strain at the moment. Some of these issues are down to a lack of judicial resource; others to the lack of support at an administrative level. What is particularly concerning is that we are still far short of the number of claims being brought before the tribunal fees were introduced in the summer of 2013. So, in all likelihood, the pressures on the system are only going to get worse before they get better.”

Reaction

Brendan Barber, the chair of Acas, stated: “The number of people deciding to pursue a tribunal claim has definitely increased since the Supreme Court decision to scrap fees. The past year has also seen us deal with a large number of collective disputes such as the university lecturers’ strike, CrossCountry trains and the Post Office.”

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