April to June 2020 employment tribunal quarterly statistics have been published by the Ministry of Justice. During this period, single claim receipts and caseload outstanding rose by 18% and 31% respectively, while disposals decreased by 21% to 4,496 compared to the same period in 2019. The mean age of cases at disposal decreased to 32 weeks.
In contrast, multiple claim receipts and disposals dropped by 43% and 47% respectively, while caseload outstanding increased by 6%.
Annual compensation and costs awards figures have also been published for the employment tribunals and the EAT. A total of 160 discrimination cases were awarded compensation in 2019/20; the highest award was for disability discrimination amounting to nearly £266,000. Age discrimination claims received the largest mean average award £39,000 compared to other discrimination jurisdictions. No awards for religion or belief discrimination were recorded. Unfair dismissal mean average awards decreased to £10,812, from £13,704 in the previous annual figures.
As a result of the figures, the Ministry of Justice stated that the increase in single claim receipts was likely due to rising levels of unemployment and changes to working conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that this was “the highest level of single employment tribunal claims since 2012/13”. Similarly, caseload outstanding surpassed its peak levels recorded in 2009/10, driven by the increase in single claim receipts and the reduction in disposals. Looking ahead, employment lawyers have warned that the number of cases concerning redundancy, employment terms, and contractual issues surrounding pay and benefits is set to “skyrocket”.