· News

Employment tribunal claims down after fee introduction

The number of employment tribunal claims has fallen by almost a fifth in 2013, following the introduction of fees.

Official quarterly employment tribunal statistics, published today by the Ministry of Justice, showed a 17% reduction in claims submitted in the period between July and September 2013, compared with the same period in 2012. This included a 42% decrease in unfair dismissal claims.

The statistics are the first to be published since the introduction of fees in the Employment Tribunal on 29 July 2013.

The fees were introduced to deter spurious claims. Simple claims such as unlawful deductions from wages cost £160 for issue and £230 for the case to be heard. More complex claims, such as unfair dismissal and discrimination, cost £250 for issue and £950 for the hearing.

Employment law firm Linklaters has said the statistics should be treated "with some caution" as many people submitted claims earlier than normal to avoid the fee introduction deadline.

Linklaters employment partner Nicola Rabson said: "Contrary to what the published statistics show, as employees are now required to make a payment on submitting a claim, employers may be more reluctant to settle threatened litigation, preferring to wait and see if the claimant is willing to commit to pursuing it, which may ultimately increase the number of claims that initially reach the tribunal."