Tribunal Fees Q&A No. 1: When Will the ‘Flood’ of New Cases Happen?
Following the recent ruling removing tribunal fees for claimants, we’re taking an in-depth look at four key questions the ruling raises.
In this first blog from Employer Services Manager Andy Weir, we look at early trends in the market that could point to longer-term changes as a result of the decision:
1. When should we expect to see the ‘flood’ of new cases from this ‘burst dam’ (if it happens at all)?
This question is very difficult to answer at this point, yet as recently as this week the Presidents of the Employment Tribunals in England, Wales and Scotland removed the hold on cases that were awaiting the outcome of the Employment Tribunal fees challenge and also directed that people who had claims rejected due to non-payment of fees could apply to have those claims reinstated.
That’s significant because it gives an immediate surge in historic claims that meet these criteria, and may explain some spikes we’re seeing at Moorepay.
We are certainly seeing an immediate increase in the number of people making Early Conciliation files, which will very likely result in Employment Tribunal files if the dispute can’t be resolved swiftly.
And we have seen an immediate increase in the number of Employment Tribunal files we are being instructed in, with a month-on-month increase of around 67%.
Finally, we’re also hearing unofficial reports that certain Employment Tribunal offices that had previously been receiving 21 claims a month are now receiving that many claims every day.
From this one could certainly be of the view that the pace of claims is already gathering momentum.
However, nothing has been said so far of those employees who did not claim at the time due to personal affordability reasons.
If these cases were also allowed it would effectively re-open the window for claimants since tribunal fees were first introduced in July 2013, which could really see the floodgates open.
In this uncertain environment, businesses large and small are best advised to ensure they are taking action that is consistent, reasonable, in line with up-to-date policies and with the full advice and support of (ideally insurance-backed) employee relations specialists (like Moorepay).