Since tribunal fees were abolished, the increase in the number of cases being brought to the tribunals has resulted in outstanding cases growing by 53% from 2017 to 2018, alongside a 23% increase in the number of new claims received. This has led many academics to believe that the tribunal system is struggling to cope with the influx of cases.
Based on conversations with my colleagues around the country, my own cases which are being handled, Manchester and Birmingham tribunals have not experienced too much delay. However, elsewhere within the country, it has not reported that short Unfair Dismissal cases are not being listed until 2020 and multiple day cases even into 2021.
The influx has resulted in long periods of uncertainty for employers and has hindered their efforts to handle cases brought against them. The shortage of full-time judges has led to a 71% increase in the amount the Ministry of Justice spends on part-time resources, from £3.9 million in 2016/17 to £6.6 million in 2017/18. Only 80 full-time salaried employment judges were on the MoJ’s payroll in 2017/18, compared with 1,181 part-time judges. Unfortunately, those in part-time roles may be more focused on case management and shorter hearings, therefore doing little to ease the backlog that exists in more complex cases
In response to the concern raised, The MoJ said it had recently recruited 58 more full-time salaried judges to reduce the backlog of employment tribunal cases.