Figures published earlier this month by the Ministry of Justice have confirmed that the success rate of employment tribunal claims has dropped since the introduction of fees in 2013. The figures highlight that only 6% (of approximately 21,500 cases) were successful at hearing in the third quarter of 2015/2016, whilst the same proportion were unsuccessful. In comparison, 11% of claims were successful in 2012/13, compared with 7% that were unsuccessful. This has led to commentators believing that the introduction of fees has led to an immediate reduction in the proportion of successful cases.
One of the main aims of the introduction of charges was to discourage unmeritorious and weaker claims. In response to the latest figures, the Ministry of Justice has stated that the effect on quality of claims will be dealt with by a review of the fees. A spokesman for the MoJ also stated that it is right that users pay towards the £71million cost of running the tribunal service. The MoJ also confirmed that efforts to increase access to the fee remission system – which covers the fee for those who can prove they cannot afford to pay – are improving. Between October and December 2015, from the 5,300 fees requested, a full or partial issue fee remission was awarded in a quarter of cases.
Last month the UK’s largest trade union, Unison, were granted permission to challenge the introduction of employment tribunal fees at the Supreme Court. Unison have previously argued that the fee regime for employment tribunals rendered employment rights “illusory”. The date for the Supreme Court hearing is yet to be confirmed.