Employment claims hit all-time high during 2009-10

The number of claims lodged at the Employment Tribunal (ET) rocketed to 236,100 during 2009-10, representing an all-time high.

In his annual report senior president of tribunals Lord Justice Carnwath revealed the figure represents an increase of 56 per cent on the 151,000 claims filed the preceding year.

The upward trend continued into the first three months of 2010-11, with the number of claims lodged up by four per cent from 42,500 to 44,306.

“The forecast seems to indicate that there will again be in excess of 200,000 claims in this financial year,” the report stated. “The current live caseload in Employment Tribunals is 417,504 cases, of which a substantial proportion are multiples.”

The number of appeals lodged at the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) also jumped, rising 10 per cent during 2009-10 to 1,963.  

The highest proportion of claims at the EAT, 20 per cent, concerned unfair dismissal matters with discrimination claims, including mass equal pay claims, accounting for 24 per cent.

In an effort to cut costs associated with the management of the tribunal service the Ministry of Justice proposed it come under the judicial remit of the Lord Chief Justice rather than the senior president of the tribunals.

The reforms were expected to be implemented by April, but the primary legislation needed to effect such a change is yet to be tabled in parliament.