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November 16th, 2011

July 2014

Decline in Employment Tribunal Claims

Recent news has highlighted a decline in the number of people taking claims to employment tribunals since fees were introduced last year.

The latest figures broken down by regions shows drop of between 51% in London to 67% in Wales. Whilst organisations such as the Welsh TUC and The Law Society of Scotland claim this is pricing workers out of justice, Employers organisations suggest it is the weaker claims which are not being brought. The government has focussed on justifying fees through requiring users of Employment Tribunals to contribute to the cost of Employment Tribunal as part of their objective of controlling public expenditure. See BBC Articles on claims in Wales and Law Society of Scotland’s call to urgently review fees. According to the HMCTS annual report fee income generated in the first 8 months following the introduction of fees is on target to raise about £6.7 million to offset the annual cost of about £74 million. This is short of the government’s own estimate of £10 million, but could be affected by a number of claims being submitted earlier than they might have been immediately before fees were introduced.

Increase in Sex Discrimination Claims?

An Article in the London Evening Standard suggests that the number of sex discrimination claims has risen when compared with this time last year and is at its highest level in 4 years, whereas an Article in the Independent draws the opposite conclusion!

June 2014


The Information Commissioner’s Office has published Guidance Notes on Disclosure of Information under TUPE.

Earlier in June ACAS published new guidance on handling TUPE transfers as well as a flowchart.

When a Tribunal can order the losing party to pay the successful party’s fees?

The Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunals have the power to order the Respondent to pay the amount paid for Tribunal fees to the person who brought the claim or appeal. a recent Appeal Judgment in the case of Horizon Security Services Ltd v PCS Group laid down guidelines for the Employment Appeal Tribunal giving them a broad discretion in considering whether or not to require the unsuccessful party to pay for the fees incurred. Although in general it would be expected that if the appeal was successful, the losing party would have to pay for the fees, this may not always apply, for example where the appeal was only partly successful or where the means of the paying party would render it unjust.

Forthcoming Legislation

The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill has recently been published which will:-
1. Introduce an “Enforcement Officer” to assist in enforcing unpaid Employment Tribunal awards. They will be able to issue a “penalty notice” of 50% of the unpaid award. This will be paid to the government as a “fine” and not to the employee who is owed the award. (s136)
2. Make any term in a “zero hours contract” which prevents an employee working for someone else void. (s139)
3. A power will be introduced to limit the number of postponements available to a party and an obligation on the Tribunal to consider making a costs award if the postponement application is late. (s137)
4. The Treasury will be given the power to require repayment of some or all of a termination payment in a public sector exit in some circumstances. (s140-142)
5. A framework will be introduced to require prescribed persons under the whistleblowing legislation to publish details of disclosures made to them. (s135)

The BIS has made an announcement regarding the enforcement of forthcoming legislation in relation to zero hours contracts

Employment Tribunal statistics

The Ministry of Justice has recently published employment Tribunal statistics for the first quarter of 2014.

A separate publication of Findings from a Survey of Employment Tribunal Applications 2013 has also been published. It has found that:-

1. 21% of small employers had been involved with an Employment Tribunal claim in the last 2 years
2. 67% of employers used a representative, whereas 33% of employees used a representative.
3. In 79% of cases a settlement was achieved, whereas 17% went to a full hearing
4. The median Employment Tribunal Award was £3,000

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