Tribunal structure is robust but morale is low

News - 21/02/2014

This month the Senior President of Tribunals, Sir Jeremy Sullivan, published his annual report. He found that, overall, employment tribunals had shown themselves to be robust in adapting to recent changes. However, in England and Wales, he found staff morale was a great concern and expressed a hope that resources would improve to ensure a better service for tribunal users. Several key findings included:

> The introduction of tribunal fees has caused difficulties for the tribunals. The first apparent effect was a surge in claims lodged immediately before the implementation of fees and a reduction of claims lodged immediately after, although levels are slowly increasing.

> Judicial mediation continues to be popular and for parties opting for this service there is success rate of over 70%.

> Full hearings held by Employment Tribunals have become much more focussed on lengthy and complex hearings than in previous years. Many straightforward claims do not proceed to full hearings as they are settled beforehand.

> There is a misconception in the political and the business world that high awards are a common feature of Employment Tribunals.

> Managing change has become a primary objective. The volume of work continues to be dictated by the economic climate which is always difficult to predict, but the effect on morale both of the staff and the judiciary is undoubtedly of great concern.

> Whatever results from proposals to change the funding basis of Her Majesty’s Courts & Tribunals, it hoped that resources will increase to allow a better service to be delivered to the public.

The full report is available here.

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