Employment Law Update – August 2019

Employment Tribunal Statistics – January – March 2019:

Background

In June 2019, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) released its quarterly Employment Tribunal (ET) statistics for the period January 2019 to March 2019.

Since ET fees were abolished in July 2017, claims have continued to rise quarter on quarter. According to the MoJ report, claims from single claimants between January and March totalled 9,500, a 6% rise compared to the same period in 2018. Claims from multiple claimants totalled 13,000, a 13% rise.

The ET disposed of 11,000 claims between January and March. 26% of disposals were through ACAS conciliated settlements, 22% were withdrawn, 11% were struck out and 11% were successful at hearing.

However, the result of the continuing rise of claims has been an increase in delays in having a claim heard. The statistics state that the average length of a single claim through to disposal was 33 weeks, a six week increase on the 2018 statistics. The Guardian reports that waiting times have risen for the fourth year in a row and attributes this to both a surge in claims and funding cuts.

Meanwhile the ET fee refund scheme, launched as a result of the abolition of fees continues to refund claimants who were required to pay a tribunal fee if their claim was made between 2013 and 2017. To March 2019, a total of 22,000 applications had been made and refunds have been paid totalling £17.3m.

How this may affect you

The Hatchers’ Employment Law team’s caseload has followed the wider statistical trend with an increase in ET cases since the abolition of fees. Hatchers represent both Claimants and Respondents throughout the Tribunal process from pre-claim conciliation through to representation at a final hearing.

At a local level, the increase of ET claims has had a noticeable effect on the length of time it may take to have your claim heard. As of July 2019, a 3 day hearing for an unfair dismissal claim may not be heard until March 2020, with more complex claims, such as a discrimination or whistle-blowing claim, being listed for hearing up to 12 months in advance. It is also not uncommon for a claim to be postponed if it becomes clear during the process that the claim requires a longer hearing than the ET initially accounted for.

The significant time it takes to hear a claim can make early settlement a more attractive option to both Claimants and Respondents, in order to save both time and resources. During your ET claim or response, Hatchers will advise you of the likely timescales and costs associated with the claim and how these may be affected by delays in the Employment Tribunal process.

If you think you may have a claim against your employer, or are a business who has received a claim from one of your employees, please contact Hatchers Employment Law team on 01743 248545 or email mail@hatchers.co.uk.

Through our quarterly newsletters, we will provide updates on the key developments in employment law. If you would like to be placed on our mailing list, please contact us.

Source:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/808118/Tribunal_and_GRC_statistics_Q4_201819.pdf

www.theguardian.com/money/2019/jul/29/employment-tribunal-claims-taking-eight-months-to-be-heard