Employment Tribunal Claims PlummetApril 11, 2014
This follows the controversial introduction of tribunal fees at the end of July 2013, resulting in a cost of between £160 and £950 for a claimant to lodge a claim, plus additional hearing fees.
This is excellent news for employers, as the fees appear to be dramatically discouraging weak, dishonest or speculative claims, which previously could be brought by claimants looking for a quick payout with little or no risk.
But unions have criticized the fee structure, arguing that it impedes access to justice for low paid or vulnerable employees. On 2nd April, the Government indicated that the level of fees may be re-considered, amidst the widespread criticism that has ensued.
An even further decline in tribunal claims may yet be seen later this year. From 6th May, claimants will have to contact ACAS (the government conciliation service) before they lodge a claim, allowing a month for attempted resolution of the dispute.
Shailesh Vara, the Justice Minister, has argued that it is “not fair” for the taxpayer to foot the entire £74m bill for people to “escalate workplace disputes” to a tribunal. “That’s why we are encouraging quicker, simpler and cheaper alternatives like mediation and arbitration,” she explained. “It is in everyone’s interest to avoid drawn out disputes which emotionally damage workers and financially damage businesses.”
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