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Employment Tribunal Awards statistics 2014 - 2015

Statistics have been published by the Ministry of Justice showing the most up to date figures relating to Employment Tribunal claims raised in Scotland, England & Wales.  

During the period from 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2015,  61,308 claims were raised. This compares to 105,803 claims in 2013/2014 and to 191,541 claims for April 2012 to March 2013, which was the last full 12 month period during which time no fee required to be paid by a claimant in order to raise a claim.

The Court of Appeal has recently rejected UNISON'S appeals against the High Court's rejection of their judicial review applications. The Government has though announced that it will conduct a review into Employment Tribunal fees. This review is expected to be finished later this year and the Government has said that it will consult on any proposals for reforms to the Tribunal fees scheme prior to making any changes.  In addition, the Scottish government intends to abolish Tribunal fees using devolved powers, which they consider they will be able to exercise under the Scotland Bill which is currently going through Parliament.

The other factor which needs to be considered when looking at the reduction in the number of claims is ACAS Early Conciliation. This requires ACAS to be notified of any dispute before a claim can be lodged with a view to trying to settle the dispute. In July 2015 ACAS released statistics for the first full year of the operation of Early Conciliation. The statistics showed that of those cases that were intimated to ACAS between April 2014 and December 2014, 63% did not progress to a claim and 15% were settled by way of a COT3 settlement. That said, I suspect that many of these claims did not progress due to the cost of Tribunal fees rather than due to the ACAS Early Conciliation process.

The more detailed Employment Tribunal statistics highlight some interesting trends.

The highest sum awarded by the Employment Tribunal in 2014-2015 was £557,039 and was awarded in a sex discrimination claim. High awards were also made in claims arising from unfair dismissal claims, race discrimination claims and disability discrimination claims.

The number of costs awards made by the Employment Tribunal in 2014-2015 has  reduced slightly since last year.  870 costs awards were made compared to 889  last year.  334 of the costs awards were made in favour of respondents. Given the overall number of claims raised this demonstrates that Tribunals are still reluctant to make awards of costs. However, over the past few years there has been a year on year increase in the number of costs awards made so Tribunals are perhaps not as reluctant as they once were.  It is also important to remember that despite the number of costs awards made in 2014/15 having decreased slightly from last year, given significantly fewer claims were accepted in 2014/15 than the previous period, the percentage of claims where costs were made has actually gone up.  It is also interesting to note that the number of costs awards made to Claimants has risen sharply. 536 of the costs awards were made in favour of the Claimants, compared to last year when only 242 costs awards were awarded to Claimants. Moreover, this is the first year, over the last several years, that more costs awards were made to Claimants than Respondents.

The maximum costs award was £235,776, which is a significant increase on previous years. Having said that, the median figure is £1,000 (which is exactly the same as last year's median figure of 1,000).

Below is a list of the maximum, median and average awards for unfair dismissal and discrimination claims:-

 

 

Maximum Award

Median Award

Average Award

Unfair Dismissal

£238,216

£6,955

£12,362

Race Discrimination

£209,188

£8,025

£17,040

Sex Discrimination

£557,039

£13,500

£23,478

Disability Discrimination

£239,913

£8,646

£17,319

Religious Discrimination

£1,080

£1,080

£1,080

Sexual Orientation Discrimination

£80,783

£6,000

£17,515

Age Discrimination

£28,428

£7,500

£11,211

You will notice from the figures above that the highest unfair dismissal award of £238,216 is in excess of the statutory cap of £78,335 but remember that this cap does not apply where the unfair dismissal is for whistleblowing or for raising certain health and safety issues.

The full report is available here: Employment tribunal statistics 2014-2015