The Ministry of Justice has confirmed that the number of Employment Tribunal claims has reduced by 79% in relation to claims received in October to December 2013 compared to the same period in 2012.
It has also been confirmed that there are 75% fewer Employment Tribunal claims compared to the last quarter.
That said, the Ministry of Justice stated that these figures need to be treated with ‘extreme caution’ for the following reasons:
- The figures are still provisional;
- There is only five months of data available (August to December) following the introduction of fees; and
- Under the business processes that facilitate fee-charging, a claim is not entered onto the internal case management system from which statistical data is extracted until the relevant fee is paid or a remission application has been granted. This means there may be a number of claims that are presented post July 2013 but only formally accepted at a later stage.
It is understood that if the 79% drop in claims is confirmed in a later statistical release and the trend continues it will give the trade union UNISON leverage to argue that the Lord Chancellor should amend the fees regime. UNISON lost its recent judicial review challenge to the fee regime. However, Lord Justice Moses, who gave the Judgment in the challenge, accepted that if the Employment Tribunal receipt statistics for July to September 2013, which showed a significant decrease in tribunal claims, were ‘anything like accurate then the impact of the fees regime has been dramatic’. If the statistics are accurate, the Courts expect that the Lord Chancellor will change the system without any need for further litigation.
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