Huge increase in employment tribunal claims

Sybille Steiner

According to UK government data published this week, there has been a 64 per cent overall increase in the number of employment tribunals in the two months since fees were abolished.

Tribunal fees were introduced four years ago but were abolished in July this year following a Supreme Court ruling that said the government was acting unlawfully and unconstitutionally when it introduced them. These are the first official figures that have been published since then.

The government statistics show that single claims went up by 64 per cent – the highest in four years. More significantly, claims for unlawful deductions from wages which had virtually disappeared are now resurfacing, increasing from 549 in July 2017 to 2,926 in August and 2,027 in September 2017.

Sybille Steiner, partner at law firm Irwin Mitchell, said: “The statistics demonstrate that workers are again more willing to bring claims to resolve their employment disputes now they don’t have to find up to £1,200.

“The Supreme Court heard convincing evidence that many workers didn’t bother to bring claims for unlawful deductions from wages such as being underpaid holiday because the cost of bringing them often exceeded the amount in dispute. Attitudes have clearly now changed and we are likely to see increasing numbers of workers willing to bring claims if they cannot resolve disputes directly with their employers.

“We will need at least another set of quarterly figures to determine if these figures represent the ‘new normal’, but in my opinion, claims are only going in one direction – and that is upwards.”

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