Employment Tribunals Face Months of Delays

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It's not just us who are hugely frustrated on behalf of our clients then!  In a recent article in The Law Society Gazette they referenced a survey by the Employment Lawyers Association (ELA) which found that not only are Tribunal claims taking many months to get to hearing, the courts are also taking much longer to reply to written correspondence than they did a year ago. 

Employment tribunal fees were declared unlawful by the Supreme Court in July 2017 and since then claims to employment tribunals have more than doubled.

While 4,291 single claims were received in January to March 2017, 9,500 were received in January to March 2019. The number of outstanding cases has also surged by almost 40% compared to the same quarter last year. 

The ELA, which heard from 387 of its members, revealed that 75% of survey respondents said that replies to written correspondence and applications take longer than they did a year ago. 

Over 77% of respondents said that final hearings were being listed over a year after the issue of a claim and more than 66% of respondents experienced an increase in the time tribunals are taking to deal with the service of claims. 

Tribunals in London, Watford, Reading and Cardiff are particularly badly hit, according to the ELA. 

Shantha David, solicitor at Unison Legal Services and member of ELA working party on ET resource, said: 

'Of course all of these delays inevitably lead to increased costs for clients. As one respondent put it, it is "embarrassing to explain these delays to clients and leads to a loss of confidence in the rule of law. What is the point of having employment rights if they cannot be effectively enforced?"'

An HM Courts & Tribunals Service spokesperson said: ‘The employment tribunal has seen a significant increase in claims since August 2017. We have recently recruited 58 more salaried tribunal judges in England and Wales to tackle the increase in cases and we have been working with the judiciary to increase capacity and performance in the tribunal.’

Whilst the increased resource is welcome it doesn't help our clients with cases pending at Tribunal who are all (Claimants and Respondents) enormously frustrated with our judicial system.

At Starford we strive to become a genuine extension of your team, helping you to identify any potential employment issues early and dealing with them in timely manner to avoid costly tribunals. If you need legal HR support in your organisation, please contact the Starford team on 01342 347063 or email julie.jones@starfordlegalhr.com