Acas sees leap in employment tribunal cases following abolition of fees

Acas sees leap in employment tribunal cases following abolition of fees

Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) is reporting a 39 per cent increase in the amount of cases that end up at an employment tribunal, following last year’s ruling that the fee system was unlawful.

According to its annual report, the conciliation body handled 26,012 cases that were referred to a tribunal during the 2017/18 financial year, whereas 2016/17 saw 18,647.

The report went on to state that Acas dealt with over 700 national and regional disputes during the previous financial period, with pay and conditions being the most common reasons for a dispute.

The chair of Acas, Sir Brendan Barber, said: “The number of people deciding to pursue a tribunal claim has definitely increased since the Supreme Court decision to scrap fees.

“The past year has also seen us deal with a large number of collective disputes such as the university lecturers’ strike, CrossCountry trains and the Post Office.”

The conciliation service, however, claims that in 70 per cent of cases an employment tribunal hearing was avoided.

Ministry of Justice figures revealed that single employment tribunal claims increased by 118 per cent in the first quarter of 2018, while multiple claims decreased by 40 per cent. Meanwhile, £6.5 million had been paid out in fee refunds by the end of March.

The surge in employment tribunal cases following the abolition of fees has led to a backlog, with the Judicial Appointments Commission launching a recruitment drive for new judges to help manage it.