We are aware, from published statistics, that employment tribunal claims more than doubled in the period April to June 2018 compared to the same period in the previous year. This is no doubt down to the abolishment of employment tribunal fees by the Supreme Court in the Unison case in June 2017.
Employment tribunals are understandably struggling with the massive increase in workload, given their resources were reduced significantly during the period fees were in place between 2013 and 2017.
Kate Fretten, Partner of the Employment Team comments “Recently we are experiencing cases taking up well over a year to reach a hearing from the date a claim is lodged with the employment tribunal, particularly for more complicated cases involving discrimination”.
Not surprisingly, given the issues the employment tribunal service is currently facing, it has been reported in the last week that the government is considering reintroducing tribunal fees. No detail has been provided, but the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has said it is confident that a fee system can be found which does not deny claimants access to justice. Richard Heaton, permanent secretary at the MoJ has said “We have to get the fee level right. I can see a scheme working that is both progressive and allows people out of paying fees where they can’t afford to”.
Kate once again says “I do not think tribunal fees will be reintroduced in the very near future, given everything else the government is having to deal with at the moment, but I would not be surprised if it happens in the next 1-2 years”.
At Frettens, all of our solicitors offer a free initial meeting or chat on the phone to answer your questions. If this article raises issues for you or your business, please call us on 01202 499255 and Kate or Paul will be happy to discuss it with you.