Since ET fees were abolished last summer, it will come as no surprise to hear that claims have increased. Statistics gathered by ACAS suggest claims progressing to Tribunal have increased by 39% since fees were abolished in July 2017. This coincides with Ministry of Justice data which suggest claims have increased by 118% since January 2018.
This data will not surprise many given the sharp decline following the introduction of fees. However, what is more interesting is that despite the increase in claims, the amount of Tribunal resources has decreased. As part of MoJ budget cuts, several Tribunals, including Bedford and Huntingdon, were closed and many staff administrators made redundant.
We are now seeing cases being listed for hearing between 12-18 months after hearing with last minute hearing cancelations becoming a regular occurrence again. What is more, Tribunal staff are now sending court dates outside of working hours, including weekends, to try and keep up with the volume of claims.
The MoJ has appointed over 50 new judges to try and get more claims heard but at the minute both employees and employers will need to bear these delays in mind when initiating or defending Tribunal decisions.