Solicitors advised to steer clear of Employment Tribunals

Solicitors and law firms are being advised to steer clear of Employment Tribunal litigation, after new official data published this week revealed that the number of Tribunal claims received by the Courts had skyrocketed.

Last year, the Supreme Court famously abolished Employment Tribunal fees amid concerns that the fees regime discriminated against those who could not afford access to justice.

However, since historic claimants begun receiving refunds in October last year, the number of new Employment Tribunal claims received by the Courts has risen substantially, new data reveals.

According to reports, the number of single claims received rose by 90 per cent between October and December 2017 – reaching 8,173 in total.

The data reveals that 22 per cent of cases relate to unlawful deduction of wages, while 13 per cent were equal pay claims, 7.5 per cent for breach of contract, and three per cent for sex discrimination.

The shock rise in such claims has raised concerns about how the Courts will handle the influx of new cases going forward.

The general consensus among experts is that cases will take a lot longer to close – or even begin – as they will be ‘added to the back of the queue’, due to the fact the Courts are currently dealing with a huge backlog of claims.

Helen Crossland, Seddons’ head of employment, said: “One consequence [is] that parties will need to factor into their case strategy the fact they will have to wait much longer for hearings to be listed and for applications – including to address unmeritorious claims – to be processed.”

Verity Buckingham, lawyer at Dentons UK and Middle East, added: “There is no knowing how long a settlement might take and the damage that time can cause to your case or business. Do what you can to follow your internal policies and procedures before something becomes a problem.”