Settlement Agreements and Employment Tribunals

Claims received by the Employment Tribunals between October and December 2013 were 79% fewer than in the same period of 2012, and 75% fewer than last quarter.

Many say it is doubtful that this sort of sharp decrease accounts for “frivolous and vexatious” claims that the requirement to pay fees intended to remove from the system.

It is argued that the fees have been set at a level which is prohibitive for the amount of income and capital that the majority of litigants have at their disposal. The maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal is currently £74,200. Most claims, if successful may result in much smaller awards often of a few thousand pounds. For many claims, Tribunal fees amount to £1,200 are a bar to justice. It is not a surprise that Tribunal statistics have demonstrated such a steep decline.

The steep decline in claims may mean that the status quo cannot remain. These figures will no doubt provide further ammunition to UNISONs case. UNISON, brought an initial legal challenge to the introduction of fees in the tribunal system arguing that they breach the ‘principle of effectiveness’ under EU law by making it excessively difficult or virtually impossible for workers to exercise their rights. This was dismissed by the High Court on the grounds that it was “not possible at this stage to form any clear view to the weight of the impact of the introduction of the scheme”. It now appears that a clear view is emerging. The latest statistics strengthen the claims of UNISON who have vowed to fight on against this obstruction to justice by appealing the ruling.

Fees are a factor for employees involved in a dispute. If you have been offered a settlement agreement, please consider the implication of fees.

del.icio.us digg stumbleupon buzzup BlinkList mixx myspace linkedin facebook reddit.com ma.gnolia.com newsvine.com furl.net google yahoo bebo.com twitter.com technorati.com