I am a PhD candidate with an interest in all things Employment Tribunal.
- The history and development of the Employment Tribunal System
- The growth in the number of claims filed since 1972
My background in the SME sector, with responsibility for HR, entailed the occasional foray into the world of Employment Tribunals, always a sobering experience that left me wanting to know more about them.
Multi-applicant Employment Tribunal Claims in the UK: an analysis
The Conservative government of 1970-74 created statutory employment rights for protection against unfair dismissal and redundancy and gave the jurisdiction to Employment Tribunals (ETs). Today ETs are responsible for adjudicating nearly 90 jurisdictions.
The annual number of total claims accepted (TCA) in 1972, the first full year of operation, was 14,857. By 2002/03 the annual number of TCAs had risen to 98,617, and by 2009/10 to 236,103. The doubling of TCAs in the 2000s has been portrayed as a ‘burden on business’ and used as justification for the introduction of ET Fees in 2013 to stem the tide of ‘vexatious claims’. The question is – what drove this increase?
The annual TCA number is made up of two subsets, Single Applicant Claims (SACs), where a single claim is filed against an employer, and Multi-applicant Claims (MACs) where many employees of the same employer file ET claims arising out of the same circumstances against that employer. There can be thousands of claims per MAC.
In 2002/03, the first year the annual figures for both SACs and MACs was made available, there were 67,527 SACs and 31,090 MACs representing 68% and 32% respectively of the TCA. In 2009/10 there were 71,280 SACs and 164,823 MACs representing 30% and 70% of the TCA. Not only has the TCA more than doubled over the 2000s but the split between SACs and MACs within the TCA has dramatically flipped.
My PhD is focused on understanding the growth in the TCA and of MACs in particular and early research is beginning to show that numbers mentioned above are not all they seem.