The number of claims in employment tribunals is bouncing back following the slump after the introduction of fees, figures obtained by a law firm reveal today.
Top-100 firm Hugh James said that the number of single claims in tribunal cases has jumped by 16% in six months, rising from 3,790 in the first quarter 2013/14 to 4,390 in the third quarter.
The volume of claims dropped by 80% following the introduction of fees in 2013. An appeal against the High Court's decision to throw out trade union Unison's challenge to the fees is due to be heard this month.
Hugh James said the number of claims is now rebounding as disgruntled former employees adjust to the new fees and weigh the financial risks to them of pursuing a claim against the potential pay-out.
Emma Burns, partner, said: 'The cost for launching a claim is between £160 to £250; when they were first introduced it was a shock, but now people are more acclimatised to these fees.'
Changes to the procedure for lodging a tribunal case may also be influencing the sudden acceleration in the number of cases, the firm said. From May 2014, it became mandatory for former employees to use the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas)’s early conciliation mediation service before lodging a tribunal case.
While the Acas route may have helped clear up relatively straightforward cases, Burns said, it merely delayed more difficult ones. 'A lot of cases are simply being held up rather than resolved, and we are now seeing them hit the tribunal system.'
Unison has been granted permission by the Court of Appeal to proceed with appeals against the decisions of the High Court refusing its two judicial review applications challenging the lawfulness of employment tribunal fees.
Its appeals will be heard this month.