Every year the Tribunals Service publishes statistics on the number and nature of claims which have been raised over the course of the preceding twelve months.
This year’s statistics (covering the period from April 2010 to March 2011) are now available, showing that while the number of cases received by the Employment Tribunal (ET) fell slightly last year, the number is still well up from 2008/2009. During the 12 month period April 2010 to March 2011 the ET received 218,000 claims (8% down from the previous year but still 44% up from 2008/2009).
The figures may also suggest that the economy may be turning the corner with a sharp reduction in claims for unfair dismissal and a small fall in the number of claims for redundancy pay.
Claims under the Working Time Regulations rose but this is mainly due to a group of claims involving the airline industry (which was recently ruled upon). The number of claims involving the various strands of discrimination remained relatively stable but there was a 30% increase in claims for age discrimination. Over the past 3 years the figure has increased steadily - 3,800 (2008/2009), 5,200 (2009/2010) and now 6,800 (2010/2011). I anticipate that the number of age discrimination claims will continue to grow particularly with the abolition of the default retirement age. I think that this will be an area of significant litigation moving forward.
Another interesting statistic is that the ET has a target to start hearing 75% of accepted claims within 26 weeks of receipt of the claim. In this target they failed (only achieving 59%). This is alarming for parties given one of the perceived advantages of the ET system is a speedy result. The Employment Appeal Tribunal just missed their target (74%)
We are still waiting on the breakdown of awards’ figures and it will be interesting to see whether the level of awards have changed and what categories have attracted particularly high figures. I will blog on these as soon as they are available but you can see last years' figures in the blog I did at the time - Employment Tribunal Award Statistics.