With employment tribunal claims rapidly soaring, HM Judiciary plans to start a recruitment campaign this summer, to hire over 50 employment judges to keep up with growing caseloads.
In 2013, the Government introduced fees for starting a claim in an employment tribunal or submitting an appeal to the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT). Consequently, the number of claims fell. Last July, the Supreme Court decided to abolish these fees, claiming that they were unlawful. Judge Brian Doyle, president of Employment Tribunals (England & Wales) claims that the caseload at tribunals has grown by almost a staggering 90%, since the fees were ruled unlawful last summer, by the Supreme Court.
In an article posted online, Judge Brian Doyle warns of a growing trend in which five or six full-timed salaried judges retired each year without replacement. He said that a similar number of fee-paid judges and non-legal members of the tribunal were also leaving annually and not being replaced.
Judge Doyle spoke at a National User Group meeting last June regarding employment tribunals. The minutes of the meeting published online state that the employment tribunals were struggling to meet their target for hearing cases. Their target for disposing of standard claims is 20 weeks, but the tribunals were taking on average 29 weeks.
To deal with the growing pressures to recruit new judges, HM Judiciary are now considering anyone without judicial experience for posts. Throughout England and Wales, there are 54 full-time equivalent vacancies being advertised across ten employment tribunal areas. An attractive salary of £108,171, plus a £4,000 extra allowance for judges working in London is being offered. As an extra incentive to attract candidates, new employment judges will only have to work 220 days a year and will get six weeks holiday, eight bank holidays and 2.5 ‘privilege days’ each year. They also won’t be expected to work unreasonable or unsociable hours.
It is hoped that this will be a more attractive proposition and will bring an influx of applications from a wide range of professionals, ranging from experienced lawyers who may be seeking a new challenge to students studying a law degree. This welcomed recruitment drive will be in place this summer.
With the steep rise in tribunal claims, it is inevitable that more and more companies will need employment tribunal support. Here at CoLaw, our team of dedicated and experienced employment law specialists can offer expert advice on employment tribunals to support the needs of any sized business.