Although employment tribunal fees were declared unlawful on 26 July 2017, the 2018/19 employment tribunal statistics are the first to show a full 12 month period where fees were not paid. Not too surprisingly, the number of claims made against employers has increased again and we have seen an increase in the overall number of awards made in favour of claimants.
In the year 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019 a total of 121,111 employment tribunal applications were made. This compares to 109,685 the previous year and 88,461 in 2016/17. So despite there having been no tribunal fees to be paid in the last year there is still a long way to go to get to the pre fee figure of 191,541 in 2012/13.
The detail of the statistics makes for interesting reading - while some of the maximum awards made have increased, the average level of awards have continued to fall with the exception of age discrimination. The highest sum awarded in an employment tribunal claim in the period 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019 was £947,585 and was, once again, awarded in an unfair dismissal claim (bear in mind that the usual statutory cap of £86,444 for unfair dismissal claims does not apply in certain circumstances). The average and median awards for successful unfair dismissal claims were £13,704 and £6,243 respectively.
The highest award in a discrimination claim was £416,015 which was awarded for disability discrimination. Age discrimination was the only category where both the median and average awards increased from last year, the median increasing from £6,184 to £12,365 and the average from £6,796 to £26,148. There was though an overall decrease in the number of awards made in discrimination claims from 136 last year to 103 in 2018/19, with no awards being made at all in sexual orientation claims.
The number of costs awards made by employment tribunals in 2018/19 has plummeted to 209, having previously remained static at 479 for the preceding two years. As with last year, more cost awards were made to employers rather than claimants with the figures being 158 and 51 respectively.
The maximum costs award rocketed this year, increasing from £20,000 in 2017/18 to £329,386. The median costs award though remained fairly static at £2,400 compared to £2,409 in 2017/18.