Nine out of 10 companies believe that the removal of employment tribunal fees will lead to a rise in weak or misguided claims, a survey for an employers’ lobby group has concluded.

In its latest Employment Trends Survey, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said 90% of businesses thought the Supreme Court’s decision would lead to a spike in vexatious claims.

Instead, respondents said they favoured a ‘small and proportionate’ fee per claim system. However, respondents generally believed that it was right to challenge the ‘expensive’ former system which was declared unlawful this summer.

The CBI/Pertemps Network Group Employment Trends Survey, published today, surveys 299 companies employing around one million people. Respondents were businesses of ‘all sizes and sectors’ from across the UK. 
 The survey, carried out between August and October, is in its 20th year.

Nearly half of respondents (48%) said the removal will definitely lead to an increase in weak and misguided claims and 42% thought it would ’probably do so’. Just 10% believed there would be no adverse consequences.

The report said: ‘The CBI has long called for reform of the employment tribunal system to return it to the original vision of an easily accessible, informal, speedy and inexpensive system for people to enforce their rights. The CBI believes that there is a role for proportionate fees to act as an incentive to ensure that going to tribunal is an option of last resort. But the excessive fees introduced in 2013 have acted as a barrier to justice for some.

‘Time will tell how the decision of the Supreme Court in the summer of 2017 to overturn the employment tribunal fees system works out in practice. But businesses are deeply concerned about the likely impact of removing fees from the tribunal system.’

The Supreme Court ruled in July that fees introduced in 2013 were unlawful and the government committed to refunding those paid.

Last week, the Gazette reported a surge in tribunal claims brought since the Supreme Court’s ruling. Some 3,045 single cases were filed in August – a month-on-month rise of 124% and an increase of 109% on August 2016, figures from the Ministry of Justice showed.