The Ministry of Justice has released the statistics for employment tribunals for April to June 2014.
The figures show an overall drop in claims of 71% compared with the same period last year, and that the number of single claims has dropped by a third since the previous quarter.
The drop since the last quarter may be partly due to the introduction of Early Conciliation by ACAS on 6 April 2014. Under that scheme, anyone wishing to make a tribunal claim must first notify ACAS and be offered the chance to settle their dispute before going to tribunal.
Tribunal fees are likely to remain the main reason for the reduction in claims compared with the same quarter last year. In May, UNISON was granted permission to appeal the High Court’s decision to dismiss its challenge against the introduction of the fees. The union continues to argue that the fees deny access to justice for some workers and discriminate against particular groups such as women. Its claim was initially rejected as the High Court at the time felt that there was insufficient evidence to support it.
Labour has recently announced that it intends to abolish employment tribunal fees should it form a government at the next general election. The present government has undertaken to review the level of fees levied once their effect can be properly analysed.