The Ministry of Justice has just published statistics for the period October to December 2013 which show that Employment Tribunal claims are down by 79% compared with the same period in 2012.
These are the first reliable statistics since the introduction of court fees for bringing an Employment Tribunal case at the end of July last year. It now costs an employee £1200 in court fees to bring an unfair dismissal case, for example.
In the last few weeks, Unison’s legal challenge to the introduction of fees failed in court. But the Ministry was forced to agree that successful claimants would automatically get their fees back from the losing employer, and the court did say the Ministry would have to review the fee regime if statistics did show that the principle of effectiveness for EU Directives was being infringed.
While that could affect some employment rights, for example over working time and discrimination, where there are EU Directives behind our own law, there is no EU law behind the right not to be unfairly dismissed so that should be safe.
The Ministry has also made some changes to the fee structure with some claims being moved from the lower to the higher fee scale from 6 April. They are equal pay, sex equality in pensions, failure to inform or consult under TUPE, compensatory rest under the WTR, and the right to request time off for training.