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    Tribunal claims rise but employment cases fall

    Tough economic times have led to a significant increase in tribunals’ workloads.

    However, cases in the employment tribunal – reportedly earmarked for government reform – fell by 8% on the same quarter last year.

    According to a BBC report last week, the government is considering proposals to charge employees a fee for bringing a claim in order to discourage spurious claims and restricting eligibility for unfair dismissal claims to employees who have been worked for two years.

    Across the service, a total of 220,400 new claims were received – an increase of 11% over the same quarter of the previous year.

    The outstanding caseload at the end of September was 706,200.  Multiple actions, where several employees bring a claim against an employer, account for three-fifths of this.

    Kevin Sadler, chief executive of the Tribunals Service, says: “There’s no doubt that tough economic conditions have added to our workload, and although employment tribunal cases have fallen compared to the same quarter last year, the social security caseload had continued to grow quickly.

    “However, the Tribunals Service has continued to respond to the challenge.  We are increasing our judicial capacity through the recruitment of more judges and panel members; piloting, holding hearings outside ‘normal’ hours such as in the evenings and at weekends; maximising our administrative capacity to concentrate resources on case-working; and ensuring we make the best use of our estate.”

    “New Law Journal”: 21.01.11