Employment tribunal numbers and backlog still growing

ARAGThe influx of employment tribunal claims and the backlog of cases, which already reached record highs in February, is unlikely to have peaked, according to leading legal advice and protection provider ARAG.

Two sets of data released by HM Courts and Tribunal Service (HMCTS) yesterday showed both a big increase in the number of claims accepted by the tribunal in the last three months of 2020, and the backlog of outstanding claims continuing to grow, this year.

  • HMCTS weekly management information during coronavirus shows over 51,000 outstanding employment claims, up 45% on ‘pre-Covid baseline’ figures at the end of February
  • HMCTS tribunal statistics reveals Q3 (Oct-Dec) saw 37% more claims accepted than in Q2 and 66% more than in Q1

Chris Millward, Head of Claims at ARAG:

“An increase in employment tribunal claims was expected, given the high level of redundancies we saw towards the end of 2020, but it’s clear from weekly management information released yesterday that the tribunal system does not have the capacity to cope.

The steps government proposed to address the backlog last year, increasing use of virtual hearings and trying to deploy underutilised and non-specialist judges, clearly haven’t worked. There is no doubt that stronger action is urgently needed to bring the backlog under control.

We warned that the backlog was approaching 50,000 cases, back in September, but it has continued to grow steadily, ever since. The end to the furlough scheme is likely to bring another spike in redundancies and yet more tribunal claims, so it is hard to see the situation improving anytime soon.

The situation is intolerable for businesses facing a claim and for those employees who may have been unfairly treated, as it is clear many will have to wait significant periods of time, potentially years, before getting any sort of resolution to their dispute.”


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