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39% rise in employment tribunal claims since fees ruled unlawful

There has been a 39% rise in claims before the Employment Tribunal since the Supreme Court ruled last year that the fees charged to bring claims were unlawful.

The fees were introduced in 2013, with employees having to pay up to £1,200 to bring a claim. Following a challenge by the union Unison, the Supreme Court ruled that the fees were discriminatory, unlawful and unconstitutional.

Figures released by the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service’s (ACAS) show that notifications to bring a claim increased in the year to July 2018 by 17,000 (19%). The number of cases that went on to appear before a tribunal rose by 7,000 (39%).

The ACAS helpline received 783,000 calls in the year to July. The top three topic categories were:

• discipline, dismissal and grievances
• contracts
• wages and the national minimum wage.

There was a huge drop in the number of employment tribunal claims following the introduction of fees in 2013, prompting criticism that employees were deterred from bringing genuine claims because the cost would prove too high.

However, from the opposing point of view, a survey by the CBI found that 90% of businesses feared the removal of fees would lead to a rise in vexatious claims that have no merit.

Businesses may wish to check that their employment policies are up to date to reduce the risk of costly and time-consuming claims from employees.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of employment law.

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