There has been quite a lot in the news of late about the extent to which Employment Tribunals have been overwhelmed by the number of claims filed since the abolition of Employment Tribunal fees in July 2017. Certainly, if our experience is anything to go by, case administrators are struggling to keep up and there are simply not enough Employment Judges to hear the cases and consider all the related applications that parties are making.
ACAS’s latest Annual Report for the year 2018-19 provides useful additional evidence of the problem our Employment Tribunals are currently facing. ACAS experienced a 20% rise in cases being considered under its ‘early conciliation’ process; as you may know, prospective claimants are required to submit their cases for ‘early conciliation’ before filing an Employment Tribunal claim. If more cases are going through ‘early conciliation’, it is reasonable to assume that more cases will end up before the Employment Tribunal as well. Indeed, ACAS have reported a 40% rise in the number of Employment Tribunal claims filed after unsuccessful ‘early conciliation’.
Admittedly, we have had some good news recently; a number of new salaried Employment Judges have been appointed (including a former stevendrake lawyer!) We wish them all well in their new roles and hope they will help to deal with cases more efficiently and more effectively. However, given the old legal maximum that ‘justice delayed is justice denied’, the current backlog within the Employment Tribunal system remains a cause for concern, both for employers and for employees.
What are your recent experiences of the Employment Tribunal system? Get in touch and let us know.