In July 2017, a Supreme Court ruling removed the need for claimants to pay fees of up to £1,200 to take their employer to an employment tribunal.
At the time, we predicted this would result in a significant surge in the number of tribunal claims – and that’s precisely what happened, with the number of single claims almost doubling over the following year and encompassing all industry sectors and all sizes and types of business.
Moving forward to last year, the pandemic and everything that came with it for business had a dampening effect on the number of tribunals being lodged and the huge number of employees furloughed for long periods of time played a big part in this. However, the latest official figures show that the number of cases were rising again by the autumn.
The third quarter of 2020 saw a 13% year-on-year rise in the numbers of employment tribunal claims being lodged, while our day-to-day experience now illustrates that the employment tribunals have got used to new ways of working and are resolving cases via video link quickly and efficiently.
At the moment, many businesses’ employment issues are effectively ‘suspended’, with the furlough scheme and other government support measures keeping a tight lid on what we expect to be a substantial range of future workplace issues.
But these measures can’t last forever, and as they begin to be removed with the announcement of the plan to leave lockdown, a whole range of workplace issues such as redundancy, contract renegotiations, health & safety concerns, flexible/remote working and performance management, are likely to be revealed.
Given the ease with which disgruntled employees can register an employment tribunal claim by just going through a short conciliation process and then completing an online form, it’s a fair assumption that we’re going to see even more of them entering the system as the true business cost of the pandemic becomes ever clear.
Our specialist employment law team is already seeing a rise in the number of tribunals that we’re helping business owners to address and resolve, and indeed we have a high rate of successfully doing so.
Should you receive a tribunal claim form, we can assist in defending the claim and provide a range of support including drafting your defence, witness statements, preparing bundles and taking all steps necessary to get you ready for the tribunal hearing.
We can do this on a fixed fee basis, so that you have visibility with costs from the outset and will approach your claim in a commercial and cost-efficient way at all times.
We also offer insurance protection against tribunal claims and can run this alongside our fixed fee retainer service, HR Key, which provides clients with unlimited employment law support from our expert team.
If you do end up facing tribunal proceedings, our team will ensure you’re as well-prepared as possible for what’s to come and that you have a practical understanding of how tribunal proceedings work.