Call us on:  0808 172 93 22

Labour Campaign to Change the Employment Tribunal System

 

abolish employment tribunalsSUMMARY: Labour promise to abolish current employment tribunal system and reconsider fees

At the TUC Congress 2014 various debates took place to consider and create strategies for how the trade union movement can come together to defend its members.

One area that came under close scrutiny was the issue of workplace justice. Since the reforms to the employment tribunal system including the introduction of fees in July 2013, there has been growing concern from the unions and workplace representatives that workers are being denied access to justice. There is mounting evidence to show that there is a continuing downward trend in employment tribunal claims.

The latest statistic released by the Ministry of Justice this week show a significant decline in the number of employment tribunal claims received. Between the period April and June 2014, 3,792 claims were recorded, which is 70% fewer than in the same period of 2013.

These latest statistics will add weight to the Labour Party’s new campaign for change.  On 8 September 2014, the Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Chuka Umunna MP pledged at the TUC Congress that the Labour Party will undertake major reforms of the employment tribunal system, if elected in 2015.  Starting from the premise that the employment tribunal system has curtailed individuals’ access to justice and is both “unfair” and “unsustainable” it would be  Labour’s intention to “abolish the current system, reform the employment tribunals and put in place a new system”, although no further details were provided.

One commentator has indicated that even under Labour, fees are unlikely to be eradicated but replaced by a system of means testing.

As a law firm we too have witnessed a decline in the number of claims against our employer clients. Early intervention via the ACAS Early Conciliation Scheme introduced earlier this year, which requires anyone seeking to go to the tribunal to try and settle their dispute before they can claim may provide one explanation for the reduction in claims.  Undoubtedly individuals faced with having to pay both an initial fee and hearing fee has also had a significant impact.

The introduction of fees has and will continue to be controversial. Whilst employers welcome the fact that fees discourage vexatious claims and those who wish to play the system, no one wants to see an individual denied the right to seek redress for a genuine grievance.

The fee debate is not going to disappear.  Whilst the government indicated in April 2014 that it would consider lowering fees, no further announcement has been made. The latest statistics and Labour’s recent announcement may be the catalyst for a further review. We will keep you posted of any developments in future briefings.

Contact Details

For more details about how to deal with Early Conciliation and employment tribunal claims please contact:

fgmedia@fgsolicitors.co.uk

+44 (0) 1604 871143

This update is for general guidance only and does not constitute definitive advice. 

Updated: by FG Solicitors
Call us on:  0808 172 93 22

LABOUR CAMPAIGN TO CHANGE THE EMPLOYMENT TRIBUNAL SYSTEM

 

abolish employment tribunalsSUMMARY: Labour promise to abolish current employment tribunal system and reconsider fees

At the TUC Congress 2014 various debates took place to consider and create strategies for how the trade union movement can come together to defend its members.

One area that came under close scrutiny was the issue of workplace justice. Since the reforms to the employment tribunal system including the introduction of fees in July 2013, there has been growing concern from the unions and workplace representatives that workers are being denied access to justice. There is mounting evidence to show that there is a continuing downward trend in employment tribunal claims.

The latest statistic released by the Ministry of Justice this week show a significant decline in the number of employment tribunal claims received. Between the period April and June 2014, 3,792 claims were recorded, which is 70% fewer than in the same period of 2013.

These latest statistics will add weight to the Labour Party’s new campaign for change.  On 8 September 2014, the Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Chuka Umunna MP pledged at the TUC Congress that the Labour Party will undertake major reforms of the employment tribunal system, if elected in 2015.  Starting from the premise that the employment tribunal system has curtailed individuals’ access to justice and is both “unfair” and “unsustainable” it would be  Labour’s intention to “abolish the current system, reform the employment tribunals and put in place a new system”, although no further details were provided.

One commentator has indicated that even under Labour, fees are unlikely to be eradicated but replaced by a system of means testing.

As a law firm we too have witnessed a decline in the number of claims against our employer clients. Early intervention via the ACAS Early Conciliation Scheme introduced earlier this year, which requires anyone seeking to go to the tribunal to try and settle their dispute before they can claim may provide one explanation for the reduction in claims.  Undoubtedly individuals faced with having to pay both an initial fee and hearing fee has also had a significant impact.

The introduction of fees has and will continue to be controversial. Whilst employers welcome the fact that fees discourage vexatious claims and those who wish to play the system, no one wants to see an individual denied the right to seek redress for a genuine grievance.

The fee debate is not going to disappear.  Whilst the government indicated in April 2014 that it would consider lowering fees, no further announcement has been made. The latest statistics and Labour’s recent announcement may be the catalyst for a further review. We will keep you posted of any developments in future briefings.

Contact Details

For more details about how to deal with Early Conciliation and employment tribunal claims please contact:

fgmedia@fgsolicitors.co.uk

+44 (0) 1604 871143

This update is for general guidance only and does not constitute definitive advice.