The Law Society Gazette referring to a survey by the Employment Lawyers Association (ELA) has highlighted delays in the Employment Tribunal where delays of several months are occurring and there are problems securing replies to phone calls and letters.
The problems with delay have been exacerbated by the reversal by the Supreme Court in July 2017 of the Government’s decision to impose fee for claims to the Employment Tribunal. This resulted in a doubling of claims when staff levels (judicial and administrative) were lower as a consequence in part of the prior reduction in the number of claims!
Over 77% of respondents to the survey said that final hearings were being listed over a year after the issue of a claim.
The worst hit Tribunals according to the survey are London, Watford, Reading and Cardiff.
Delays can have an impact in many ways. One of the consequences is that witnesses whom employers wish to call have left their place of work and are then more difficult to contact and make available to provide a statement.
The response from the Courts & Tribunals Service spokesperson was: ‘The employment tribunal has seen a significant increase in claims since August 2017. We have recently recruited 58 more salaried tribunal judges in England and Wales to tackle the increase in cases and we have been working with the judiciary to increase capacity and performance in the tribunal.’