Employment Tribunals – Reforms Needed say the BCC
Bills of £8,500 are being faced by employers defending employment tribunal claims according to figures published by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) this week.
The findings come as business groups begin lobbying the Government for reforms of the system.
As employment tribunal claims continue to increase (the number of claims accepted in 2009-101 was 56% higher than 2008-09), the average cost of defending a claim is put at £8,500 with settlements costing an average £5,400.
Employers were found to be settling cases to keep their costs down, regardless of how spurious the claim was considered to be. With costs only awarded to respondents in 324 cases1, averaging £2,288, this is an entirely understandable approach to a system the BCC describes as being in dire need of reform.
Dr Adam Marshall, Director of Policy and External Affairs at the BCC said:
“We urge the Government to review the current system and consider introducing a fee for claimants to discourage spurious and baseless claims. Ministers must also commit to reducing the wait time for a first hearing – and making the system less of a barrier to business growth.”
However, in dispelling a lot of the myths that were reported around this issue, Daniel Barnett, a barrister specialising in employment law, has posted a very considered argument, going so far as to suggest it often makes no sense to use a lawyer’s services.
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 According to Employment Tribunal and EAT statistics 2009-10 (GB) 1 April 2009 to 31 March 2010