Research perspectives

Tribunal backlog may bring some benefit to employers

The Covid 19 pandemic has seen employment tribunals almost grind to a halt. All cases listed between 23 March and 26 June 2020 were cancelled and converted into preliminary hearings, resulting in a huge backlog. Tribunals were not in great shape before coronavirus, with many courts operating with limited resources; and this doesn’t count the new cases likely to arise from the pandemic itself, such as redundancies.

In June, the Presidents of the Employment Tribunals published a ‘roadmap’ setting out how they anticipated hearings would take place over the ensuing months. The simpler cases, such as unfair dismissal cases and simple money claims, were to start again first, with discrimination cases resuming from September or October subject to resources, the technology required and what the Covid 19 situation is in any particular area.

One result of this may be a willingness on the part of claimants to enter into negotiations rather than have the tribunal claim hanging over them for a long period and the possible financial impact of that delay.