These figures appear to confirm that the dramatic (80%) reduction in the number of claims following the introduction of fees in the Employment Tribunals in July 2013 was no mere blip. Commentators previously speculated that a combination of factors including a rush to present claims before fees were introduced and delays in the fee remission system meant the true reduction was less significant.
However with nearly a year’s statistics now available it seems the reduction should be regarded as permanent, the number of claims being pulled lower still by the introduction of mandatory pre claim conciliation in May this year.
Although early settlement of claims through Acas conciliation is generally considered a positive development, many groups are concerned that the Employment Tribunal fee regime is unfairly denying access to justice for thousands of workers. In a speech to the TUC on 8th September the Labour Shadow Secretary for Business, Innovation and Skills announced his party’s intention if elected to reform the current system. No details were provided however and commentators have expressed the view that the tribunal fee system is more likely to be reformed than abolished all together.