The Ministry of Justice has today (13 March) published the quarterly statistics for Employment Tribunals for October to December 2013. The Employment Tribunal statistics give the first proper analysis of the effect of introducing Employment Tribunal fees and potentially the change in the length of service requirement for unfair dismissal cases on the number of cases.The statistics show a dramatic fall in numbers. From October to December 2013, 9,801 claims were received – a drop of 79% compared with the previous year.
This appears to represent good news for employers, who will apparently have to defend fewer claims. However, critics are likely to suggest that the statistics indicate that access to justice for many individuals has been restricted by changes to the Employment Tribunal process and employment law. By way of example, for many dismissed employees, the prospect of paying £1,200 in fees to pursue an Employment Tribunal claim is likely to be off-putting.
Whether the statistics have been affected by more claimants are issuing wages claims in the County Court (where fees are lower) or because parties are settling their claims at an earlier stage remains to be seen.