Continuing increase in employment tribunal claims in first quarter of 2019

The rise in the number of employment tribunal claims is continuing since the abolition of tribunal fees almost 2 years ago.

The Ministry of Justice has published its most recent quarterly statistics for the period from 01 January 2019 to 31 March 2019.

The data for those 3 months shows, for example, that new claims by single applicants (as opposed to multi-party claims) were up by 6% compared to the same period in 2018.

There was also an increase in the number of multiple claims (by 13%). (Multiple claims – in the sense of cases where the claimant has a number of different complaints against the employer – are very common. They are probably more the rule  than the exception).

Employment tribunal fees were introduced in July 2013 and abolished in July 2017.

On the other hand, the total number of claims is still considerably lower than it was prior to the introduction of tribunal fees.

For example, employment tribunal claims for unfair dismissal between 2009 and 2013 almost always exceeded 10,000 applications per quarter.

During the period when fees were chargeable, the quarterly number of applications was generally hovering at a much reduced level – around the 3,000 mark.

Since the abolition of fees, the quarterly number of applications has risen to around 5,000. So, numbers have recovered a bit but are still far down on what they were before employment tribunal fees were introduced.

The introduction of early conciliation through ACAS in 2014 is also a relevant factor.

Early conciliation (whereby there is a compulsory period of “negotiation” before a claimant can raise an employment tribunal claim) has probably also had a downwards effect on the overall number of employment tribunal applications being made.

If you like pithy comments and looking at pretty graphs about the recent history of different types of employment tribunal claim, Richard Dunstan’s Labour Pains blog is a good place to look.

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