Further decrease in employment tribunal claims

The annual report published by the senior president of tribunals has highlighted the key trends that have emerged across employment law over the past 12 months.

By Victoria Mitchell, Farleys Solicitors.

 

Perhaps the most significant of these changes was the introduction of fees which appears to have affected the number of claims reported.

Along with the decline in employment claims the report also drew attention to the steady decline of people seeking professional legal representation; the figure having fallen from 60 to 40 per cent over the past five years. Although the statistics do not show whether their has been an increase in the number of people electing to represent themselves, it would be natural to assume given the figures stated in the report along with cuts to legal funding that this is likely to be the case.

Interestingly, the report also hints that without the fees, due to the limited resources of the employment appeal tribunal, they would have been unable to adequately cope with appeals. Therefore it could be argued that the introduction of fees to lodge a claim at employment tribunal has operated as a work load management system for the EAT. The claims process itself has undergone further reform over the last year, with the ACAS early conciliation scheme becoming a mandatory step for those wishing lodge a claim before the employment tribunal. Whilst the objective of this was to encourage out of court resolution between parties it is difficult to say as to whether it has fulfilled its intended effect.

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