Tribunal backlog continues to build
The number of outstanding employment tribunal cases has reached its highest level since the scrapping of tribunal fees in July 2017. The number is likely to rise further given the pressures on the system, according to new analysis by law firm GQILittler.
There were 23,700 outstanding cases in the system from July to September 2018 – the last quarter for which figures were available – which represented an increase of 77 per cent on the same period in 2017. The research, based on HM Courts & Tribunal Service (HMCTS) records, also found tribunals received 36,900 single claims in the year ending September 2018, an 88 per cent increase from 19,600 the year before.
GQ|Littler say that tribunals do not have the resources to deal with the growing number of claims since fees were abolished, due to falling staff numbers – including both judges and administrative staff. They found the number of staff employed by HMCTS had fallen 17 per cent from the point fees were introduced in 2013. Staff costs have also been cut from £41.2 million to £38.5 million over the same period.
The Ministry of Justice responded by saying the additional sitting days have been allocated to cope with the increase, and a judicial recruitment campaign was also underway. “We continue to carefully monitor the volume of cases in our tribunals, and will not hesitate to take urgent action if needed.”