The latest quarterly statistics released by the Ministry of Justice indicate single claims have more than doubled compared to the same period in 2017.
The sharp rise in employment tribunal claims that has been the consequence of the end of the tribunal fees regime, which required employees to pay a fee in order to pursue claims, has put significant strain on the employment tribunals service.
The decrease in claims that resulted from the introduction of tribunal fees and the slimming down of the tribunals service that followed has meant that employment tribunals are, understandably, struggling to deal with the sharp increase in claims they are now facing.
Whilst steps are being taken with the aim of improving the experience of users of the tribunal service, such as a recruitment drive for more Employment Judges, the practical impact of the increase in claims is that parties are facing long delays waiting for tribunals to deal with correspondence and for cases to be heard.
My recent experience has been that claims listed for three days or more are being listed for final hearings over a year after the claim is being presented. Delays of this nature are detrimental for all parties involved as claimants will have to wait a significant length of time before cases are resolved and often, before they are able to move on.
Respondents can face difficulties in securing the attendance of key witnesses who may have left the respondent’s employment before the hearing takes place which can impact on their ability to successfully defend tribunal claims.
Put simply, long delays are also bad for justice. The quality of evidence will be affected by delays as memories will have faded over time.
Hopefully the tribunal service will be given the additional resources it needs to cope with the increase in claims.
Posted on September 25, 2018