The Employment Lawyers Association (ELA) has reported that Employment Tribunals are being delayed by several months, and users are experiencing significant delays in calls being answered.
The ELA heard from 387 members, and 75% of survey respondents said that replies to written correspondence and applications took a lot longer than they did just one year ago.
In July 2017, Employment Tribunal fees were declared unlawful by the Supreme Court, and since that day claims to Employment Tribunals have more than doubled in amount.
4,291 single claims were received in January to March 2017, but a massive 9,500 were received in January to March 2019.
The number of outstanding cases has also grown by 40% compared to the same quarter last year.
Over 77% of respondents reported that final hearings were being listed more than a year after the claims were started, and over 66% of respondents experienced an increase in the time Tribunals were taking to deal with claims.
According to the ELA, Tribunals in London, Watford, Reading and Cardiff appear to have been significantly affected.
This is no doubt due to the influx of claims because of the withdrawal of fees.
An HM Courts & Tribunals Service spokesperson has 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.’
Reacting to the news, Gwyn Edwards, an employment lawyer with Neathouse Partners, said, “this news goes to show why businesses need readily available access to robust HR and employment law advice. Tribunal claims can hang over a business for many months, even years in some cases, which affects productivity, morale and resources. The key is to avoid the issue in the first place by dealing properly with employment issues. Alternatively, when a claim is brought, businesses need to know the pros and cons of their case at the start so that they can take an appropriate course of action”.