Successful tribunals decline as fees bite

Topics: Employment

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The success rate of employment tribunal claims has fallen since the introduction of fees, new statistics show.

Figures published by the Ministry of Justice last week show that 6% of around 21,500 cases were successful at hearing in the third quarter of 2015/16. The same proportion was unsuccessful.

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In contrast, 11% of claims were successful in 2012/13, compared with 7% that were unsuccessful. The introduction of fees saw an immediate reduction in the proportion of successful cases in the following year.

Charges of up to £1,200 to claimants were introduced in July 2013. One of the aims was to discourage unmeritorious or weaker claims, but MoJ figures suggest this has yet to materialise.

In the final three months of 2015, 27% of claims were resolved at ACAS and 26% were withdrawn.

The MoJ says the effect on quality of claims will be dealt with by a review of the fees. The Gazette understands this was completed in November and was due to be published by the end of the year, but it has yet to materialise.

A spokesman said it is right that users pay towards the £71m cost of running the tribunal service, and recent research showed 80% of litigants in early conciliation were satisfied with the service.

Shadow justice minister Andy Slaughter said: ‘The fact that the proportion of successful claims at hearing stage has gone down since the fees were introduced highlights what a mess the government has made.’

The MoJ statistics revealed that efforts to increase access to the fee remission system – which covers the fee for those who can prove they cannot afford to pay – are starting to improve.

In October to December, of the 5,300 fees requested, a full or partial issue fee remission was awarded in a quarter of cases. 

Readers' comments (10)

  • While one should be cautious about drawing conclusions from the limited figures, it does rather look as though the fee increase has had the opposite of the intended effect - slight drop in "unmeritorious or weaker claims" (taking all claims which fail at a hearing as being one or the other), and a near 50% drop in meritorious or successful claims.

    I trust the MoJ will be monitoring this carefully, and if the trend continues reduce fees or expand the fees remission scheme?

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  • Simon - I suspect your trust would be ill-placed.

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  • There's simply one agenda here. The MOJ are committed to take away access to justice - or entirely disregard it, whilst looking at fees as a cash cow.

    Today Divorce fees have been increased by a third, applications fees have gone up £100 from £155 to £255 and consent orders £50 to £100.

    Family work has been decimated - as has civil, not least because of the increase some years ago to £10,000. I am against LiPs constantly who are making horrendous mistakes - and the DJs are absolutely sick to the back teeth of it all.

    The whole thing needs a massive shake up with a new MO - provide access to justice and move away from the massive fees base.

    I keep banging on about the petition I created to cause Parliament to think again - sadly the numbers are less than 900, and we need a lot more input.

    Seriously - as members of the profession, we need to take action. See your MP, sign the petition - but do something, anything. Doing nothing and simoky sitting on our hands provides a mandate for these increases to keep coming. Acquiescence should not be the order of the day.

    Please look at the petition: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/120263

    Please do something, and if you have, thank you!

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  • Simon
    ''The opposite of the intended effect''?
    The drop in successful cases and the 80% drop in cases coming before the tribunal was exactly what was intended. It was only ever about denying access to justice.

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  • Paul I had no idea there was even a petition. Good on you for doing something about it. I think all solicitors should get behind this petition. I have seen a significant decline in civil work and employment work as a result of fees.

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  • I agree Paul.Petition signed.

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  • Anonymous at 3.25 pm. Spot On. The intended effect is precisely what is being achieved.

    Paul Nicholls, agreed and signed as requested

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  • Thanks ever so much for getting behind this. Please Tweet about it, mail it, pass it round. We really do need to make a stand. It's desperate that access to justice has been so diminished.

    Sadly the general public are so unaware of what has happened, and only get to hear about this when it's too late, and affects them.

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  • The hike in Employment Tribunal fees is a complete affront to British justice. It is completely farcical to expect anyone who has just lost their job to fork out £1200.00 to take their former employer to court. That's why some major employers are getting away with zero hours contracts and when our elected representatives try to hold them to account they refuse to appear. You reap what you sow. Access to justice nonsense. Looking after the elite, certainly.

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  • 'The intended effect:' I was taking the report at face value, when it states: " One of the aims was to discourage unmeritorious or weaker claims, but MoJ figures suggest this has yet to materialise." Perhaps another aim was to limit access to justice, but that isn't what the piece says: it reports only one aim, and that aim has thus far not only not been achieved, but has had the opposite effect.

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