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Tribunal claims returning to pre-pandemic levels

Contrary to some predictions, there was not a marked increase in claims as a direct result of the pandemic

Tribunal claims are returning to pre-pandemic levels, with single claims received and disposed of decreasing by 1% and 3% respectively between July and September.

Open cases decreased by 17% compared with the same period last year.

Read more: Remote working employment tribunals hit record high

A recruitment drive for employment judges has helped speed up the tribunal system, according to Richard Fox, lawyer at Keystone Law and chair of the legislative and policy committee at the Employment Lawyers Association (ELA).

Speaking to HR magazine, he said: “There was real concern that employment tribunals were at breaking point at the start of the pandemic.

“But measures taken by the presidents of the tribunals in England and Wales is increasing significantly the number of employment judges in what many had anticipated would be a seriously difficult time. 

“To some extent they have brought the system back to where it was before the pandemic. No mean feat in such a short period of time.”

However, Fox warned the tribunal system will still face backlogs in the year ahead.

Workers who made claims to employment tribunals waited 60% longer in 2023 than they did in 2010, according to data published by the Ministry of Justice in August.

Fox added: “The system will not avoid challenges in the years ahead. Not the least of these being the marked variation in performance and waiting times throughout all the regions in the country. 

“Measures have been taken to try and even out the load, where judges in regions that are less busy can help out those tribunals facing a disproportionately high load, London being a prime example. But there will be a way to go on that score.”

Read more: Employment tribunals – what does a win actually look like?