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A survey from a report from Hugh James Solicitors has found that the number of employment tribunals has risen significantly despite attempts to reduce the number. The research found that the number of claims had risen by 16% in six months with over 10,500 employment cases in the UK each year.
The statistics come despite government reforms to employment tribunals in an attempt to reduce the number of employment tribunals.
After the introduction of tribunal fees employment tribunal cases fell according to the report from the top 100 law firm, however, current trends and research indicates that the number of tribunals has risen once more following the reforms.
Under the reforms bringing a case, forward rose from £160 to £250 with the significant changes affecting the number of fraudulent claims made with a two/thirds drop in the number of claims. According to the authors of the report, the number of claims have doubled “as disgruntled former employees adjust to the new fees and weigh the financial risks to them of pursuing a claim against the potential payout.” As more people have become acclimatised to the reforms, it has led to an increase in the fees.
Emma Burns, partner at Hugh James and one of the authors of the report, said: "Despite the recent reforms it's still a big risk for employers to fight certain types of claims, such as discrimination claims. It is exceptionally rare for an unsuccessful claimant to have to pay their employer's legal fees for a complex case like a discrimination claim."
She added: "That means that even if the case has no real merit, the system is still stacked in the claimant's favour; it will often be cheaper for an employer to pay out to settle a case rather than fight a long-drawn-out tribunal. The recent changes are a start, but there needs to be a more fundamental overhaul of how the tribunal system works."
Despite the figures apparently showing the numbers rebounding in regards to employment tribunals, it could be due to the others reforms of the system. Changes to the procedure for lodging a tribunal case could have also led to an increase in the number of cases seen in the last year. In May last year employees had to use the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas)’s Early Conciliation service before lodging a tribunal case. This was created to try and prevent employment tribunals and act as a negotiating platform for parties, however, many of the cases that were not settled would have gone to a later date than originally planned.
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