Employment tribunals are failing to hit basic targets and judges are departing without being replaced, users have revealed. Minutes of the National User Group Meeting on employment tribunals report that tribunals are falling short of targets for completing and disposing of claims.
Employment tribunals aim to complete 75% of claims within 26 weeks of receipt. However, according to the minutes, the current level of claims completed in that time stands at 67%. In terms of disposing of a claim, tribunals aspire to dispose of single claims within 26 weeks. However, the current timeframe is 29 weeks.
Furthermore, judges are retiring at a rate of around five or six per year but are not being replaced – the meeting heard.
User group president Judge Brian Doyle said that despite losing salaried judicial resources there ’were currently no recruitment exercises planned’. The position was similar regarding fee-paid judges and non-legal members.
The minutes come from the user group’s June 2017 meeting – the latest for which minutes are available. The most recent meeting was held on 16 October. The group, made up of judges and professionals, is a forum for customers to discuss the service.
A spokesperson for HMCTS told the Gazette: ’Maintaining access to justice is vital and continues to be at the heart of our reforms. Most employment tribunal claims are made within 26 weeks and the rate improved on the last quarter. We continue to look to improve timeliness in these cases.’
Meanwhile, the government has again refused to reveal details of when and how people who paid the now outlawed tribunal fees will be reimbursed.
A spokesperson said: ’Following the Supreme Court’s judgment we said we would put in place arrangements to refund those who have paid employment tribunal fees. We will set out further details in due course.’