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Employment Tribunal system creaks under the COVID strain

Posted
October 13, 2020
Employment Law

It comes as no surprise to hear that there has been a marked increase in the number of people filing Employment Tribunal claims in recent months. So what does that mean for those seeking justice?

A long slow process

With unemployment already on the rise and the likelihood of significant redundancies over the coming months as the furlough scheme closes its doors, the smart money is on a significant jump in the number of people taking their employers (or former employers) to tribunal. The worrying thing is that the system is already overworked. The backlog of claims has increased by 26% since March 2020. With as many as 1,000new cases being filed each week and sometimes fewer than 600 cases being resolved, the numbers speak for themselves.

Here at stevensdrake, we have recent experience of claims taking months to be served on employers and cases taking almost a year to be listed for a preliminary hearing. This is by no means unusual and there is the prospect that things will get much worse before they get better.

Multi-tasking judges?

Various measures are currently being rolled out in an attempt to address the problem. This includes the prospect of using judges from elsewhere in the judicial system to hearEmployment Tribunal claims. Whether this will improve the quality of the service provided by the Employment Tribunal system remains for be seen. For now, those submitting or responding to ET claims need to be prepared for a very long wait.

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