I’ll start with the big headline: Employment Tribunal claims (brought by individual Claimants) increased by 90% in the period between October to December 2017 (in comparison with the same period in 2016). To cut a long story short, the recent abolition of Employment Tribunal fees has led to Tribunal claims nearly doubling.
A small disclaimer is that the above statistic is currently a provisional figure, however, in reality, that figure tallies with my own expectations and experience over the past 12 months.
These statistics are slightly ironic given that, before the Supreme Court found Employment Tribunal fees to be unlawful, one of the main reasons the lower courts refused to find Employment Tribunal fees unlawful because there was ‘no evidence’ of the fees preventing individuals from accessing justice.
Personally, I viewed this as a bizarre decision due to the large fall in Employment Tribunal claims immediately after the introduction of Employment Tribunal fees back in 2013. And, sure enough, the statistics now conclusively demonstrate that simple fact again, namely: a lack of Tribunal fees means more Tribunal claims.
I note that there will continue to be arguments (mostly on Twitter!) as to whether or not the abolition of Tribunal fees ‘puts justice back into the hands of employees‘ or will ‘result in undeserving claims being brought due to the lack of financial barrier‘. For today, I’ll simply comment that Employment Tribunal claims have a financial and emotional toll on both employees and employers and that Acas Early Conciliation remains a useful tool for parties to talk before a Tribunal claim becomes possible.
However, the important point here is that, after years of argument, the (you would presume) fairly simply premise has been proven: ‘without Employment Tribunal fees, more employees will bring Tribunal claims’.