Employment Tribunal Claims are on the Rise: How can you prepare?
HM Courts and Tribunals (“HMCT”) recently released its quarterly statistics for cases in the various courts and tribunals in England and Wales which include employment tribunal cases.
In the final quarter of the financial year 2022-2023 (January to March 2023). The Tribunal received a total of 23,000 new cases and 20,000 cases disposed of (i.e. settled, withdrawn or decided by the ET).
The statistics demonstrate the continuing increase in the numbers of employment tribunal claims being brought.
As well as an increase in claims generally, we are also seeing ETs being far more efficient in the management of claims. We are now seeing directions for disclosure, witness statements, preparation of the bundle and listings for final hearings being issued with the notice of claim. This means that as a respondent you may receive notification of the dates for the final hearing at the same time as you receive notification of the claim.
This raises concerns for respondents, who would previously have had gaps of several months, even up to a year between receiving notification of a claim and the final hearing being listed, but now may have just a matter of weeks to comply with deadlines.
This naturally adds pressure on HR, and the management resources necessary to prepare for tribunal, increasing the speed by which documents need to be collated, bundles and witness statements prepared and discussions around settlement initiated.
Given the ETs new approach, we recommend the following swift steps for respondents on receipt of a notice of claim:
- Get your internal or external legal advisers on board quickly, this will help identify preliminary issues, such as any out of time arguments that need to be addressed and help you to manage the process and ensure timely compliance with ET directions from the outset;
- Diarise the deadline for submission of your defence;
- Collate documents relevant to the matter; and
- Discuss the case with relevant managers and colleagues of the claimant and prepare a chronology of the case.
You can find more information regarding employment tribunal claims in our detailed guidance HERE.
For further assistance please contact a member of the Geldards’ Employment team.