Anyone with any recent experience of the Employment Tribunal system will be aware of the delays in the system. But quite how long are claims currently taking?
In response to a question posed by Labour Deputy Leader, Angela Rayner, Mike Freer (a minister in the Justice Department) provided details of the average waiting time between the ET’s receipt of a claim form and the first hearing in relation to that claim. The figure has varied over the years, but has often been around 30 weeks. However, following the COVID pandemic, there has been a sharp rise; the waiting time in early 2021 stood at 49 weeks. Presently, there are no figures for 2022. However, anecdotally, it feels like the situation is unlikely to have improved.
…Even worse than it sounds?
It is important to remember that in more complicated cases, the first hearing in relation to an ET claim is unlikely to be the last. Indeed, if the first hearing is a case management hearing, any final hearing in that matter could be many months (and in some cases, 1-2 years) away.
All in all, it is currently hard to see how the ingrained delays in the system are going to be resolved any time soon; at least, not without a significant expansion in the available resources. Given the current state of the public finances, is the required investment going to be coming down the track any time soon? It seems unlikely!