The National User Group of Employment Tribunals has reported that employment tribunal claims have increased considerably in some regions since the scrapping of fees, following the Supreme Court ruling that the fees were unlawful.
Figures released by the Ministry of Justice show that 7,042 single claims were received during the period July 2017 – September 2017, compared to 4,241 in the previous quarter. This represents an increase of 66.05%. Nevertheless, that quarter includes the period 1st July 2017 – 26th July 2017, when Tribunal fees were still in place. Hence, looking at the period post 26th July 2017, in August 2017, 3,045 single cases were received. That represents a 124% increase compared with July 2017. In terms of multiple cases, 181 were received in August 2017, compared with 75 in July 2017, which represents an increase of 141.33%.
National User Group Of Employment Tribunals Report
According to the National User Groups report, some regions have reported that employment tribunal claims have increased significantly in their area since the scrapping of employment tribunal fees. The report states: “The President updated members about judicial resources. The effect of the Unison decision was yet to be fully felt, but the signs were that claims were beginning to return. Regions were reporting a doubling in new claims since the Unison decision, although it was not yet clear how far the Farmah decision (requiring single claims where a multiple claim might have been presented in the past) was influencing that increase. The President was optimistic that a case for increased sitting days and/or additional judges could be made in due course once the trends were clearer.“
ACAS Findings Also Indicate Employment Tribunal Claims Have Increased
ACAS statistics also seem to indicate that employment tribunal claims have increased considerably since the removal of fees. ACAS report that prior to the scrapping of fees, they had been receiving around 350 ET1’s per week. However, since the removal of fees, the number of ET1’s they have been receiving is now 300 – 700 per week.
Background: Employment Tribunal Fees Declared Unlawful
The Supreme Court held back on the 26th July 2017 that employment tribunal fees were unlawful, as they were “inconsistent with access to justice” as they had led to a 70% fall in the number of claims being commenced. The fees were unaffordable for those on lower incomes, and thereby denied those Claimants with an effective and financially viable remedy. The Court held that this was not only unlawful in UK law, but also under EU law, as it breached the right to an effective remedy under Article 47 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights on the basis that employment tribunal fees unfairly limited the ability of workers to enforce their employment rights. Moreover, the Court also held that the fees indirectly discriminated against women because they placed women at a particular disadvantage, as they were more likely proportionately than men to have to pay the higher Type B claims fees of £1,200.00, and the Government were unable to justify this discrimination in terms of its objectives of reducing the number of vexatious claims, incentivising earlier settlement, and reducing the financial burden on the taxpayer.