November 28, 2013

Has the number of tribunal claims increased?

A flood of claims were submitted to tribunals earlier in the year, and it’s no surprise why…

Earlier this year, in July, fees became payable to lodge both an employment tribunal claim and an appeal.

As a result, an issue fee of £250 and a hearing fee of £950 are now payable should an applicant wish to submit a claim for discrimination or unfair dismissal for example. Simpler cases, for such things as unauthorised wage deductions or unpaid redundancy payments, attract a much lower fee (a £160 issue fee followed by a £230 hearing fee).

When lodging an appeal, a £400 issue fee and a £1,200 hearing fee now applies.  Hearing fees are NOT refunded if the case is settled before the hearing. Employers can also be ordered to repay a claimant’s fee if a claim is successful.

It is of no surprise that a flood of tribunal claims were submitted to tribunals prior to the introduction of these fees. Despite the rush of claims, the average over the three month period July to September 2013 was 16,400, very close to the norm of 17,000 claims per month.

The Ministry of Justice recently confirmed that 25,000 claims were received in June 2013, followed by 17,000 in July 2013.  In contrast, this figure dipped to 7,000 claims in August 2013. Interestingly, in September 2013, the number of claims rose to 14,000.

Employment Tribunal Statistics

Employment Tribunal statistics for the quarter April to June 2013, along with full year statistics for the year 2012/2013 (covering the period from 1 April 2012 to 31 March 2013) have recently been published by The Ministry of Justice.

The statistics show that over the course of the twelve months, the number of tribunal claims accepted rose from 186,331 in 2011/12 to 191,541 during 2012/13, an increase of approximately 3%.

During the period January 2013 to March 2013, over 57,700 claims were submitted, a 36% increase on the previous year.

There was a large increase in claims made under the Working Time Directive, double that of the previous year.  These Working Time claims equated to just over a third of claims received during the quarter.

Claims to the Employment Tribunal can be classified into two broad categories – single cases and multiple cases.  Multiple cases are where two or more people bring a case, usually against a single employer, arising out of the same or very similar circumstances. Multiple cases are processed together.

What the Statistics Reveal

The statistics show the following key points:

  • There were 49,036 unfair dismissal claims in 2012/13, an increase from the previous year of 46,326 claims.
  • The maximum unfair dismissal award during 2012/13 was £236,147, whereas the average award was £10,127
  • The largest amount awarded by a tribunal during 2012/2013 was £387,472 for a disability discrimination claim.  Other high awards were given in unfair dismissal and sex discrimination cases.
  • The largest rise was seen in claims for sex discrimination and equal pay, with multiple claims being made rather than single claims.
  • 651 costs awards were made by tribunals during 2012/2013.  Of these awards, 522 were made to the Respondent, with the maximum costs award being £54,740. (The average costs award was £3,141.)
  • The mean time for a single claim to be completed was 24 weeks, but nearly three years for a multiple claim.
  • Around two thirds of the tribunals’ outstanding caseload relates to multiple claims.
  • The statistics for discrimination claims show average awards are shown below

Awards by Category

Age Discrimination

Maximum Award – £72,500

Minimum Award – £8,079

 

Disability Discrimination

Maximum Award – £387,472

Minimum Award – £16,320

 

Race Discrimination

Maximum Award – £65,172

Minimum Award – £8,945

 

Religious Discrimination

Maximum Award – £24,004

Minimum Award – £6,137

 

Sex Discrimination

Maximum Award – £318,630

Minimum Award – £10,552

 

Sexual Orientation Discrimination

Maximum Award – £28,251

Minimum Award – £10,757

 

Unfair Dismissal *

Maximum Award – £236,147

Minimum Award – £10,127

 

* This figure is in excess of the statutory cap for unfair dismissal, currently set at £74,200. However, the cap does not apply where the unfair dismissal is for raising certain health and safety issues or for whistleblowing.

References:

Ministry of Justice Guidance and data relating to Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal Statistics.

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