The latest statistics cover the period January to March 2014 and show a sustained decline in the number of claims to the employment tribunal since the introduction of fees for the first time in July 2013.
The total number of claims (including claims involving multiple claimants, such as equal pay claims) has reduced by a staggering 83%. The number of individual claims is down by 59% compared to the same period in 2013. Statistics from the previous quarter (the first since the introduction of fees) showed a drop of 63% individual claims.
Prior to July 2013, the average number of claims submitted to an employment tribunal was in the region of 4,460 per month. The average now stands at 1,763 per month.
Earlier this year, UNISON pursued a judicial review application to challenge the introduction of fees for bringing a claim in the employment tribunal. The application was rejected by the High Court, largely on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence to properly assess the impact of the introduction of fees. An appeal against this decision is due to be heard by the Court of Appeal towards the end of this year.
These latest figures will support UNISON’s argument that the introduction of fees has had a disproportionate impact on individuals’ ability to access justice, particularly since only 6% of claimants have successfully obtained a full or partial fee remission.
If the significant reduction in the number of claims is sustained going forward, it is likely that the decision to introduce fees will be reviewed. Whilst it is probably unlikely that the fees will be removed entirely, it is possible that the level of the fees will be reduced.
A copy of the latest MoJ statistics is available here.