Latest Ministry of Justice Employment Tribunal (ET) statistics show that claims are falling year on year, in spite of the government’s claims about employers being scared to take on staff for fear of being sued.

The figures, published last week and covering the year from 1 April 2011 to 31 March 2012 show that, overall, ETs received a total of 186,300 claims during 2011-12, a 15 per cent fall compared to the previous year.

However, if multiple claims are excluded (when two or more people bring cases involving one or more jurisdiction, arising out of the same or very similar circumstances and which are processed together), the number of cases was 10 per cent lower than the previous year.

When compared with data for 2010 to 2011, there were falls both in single and multiple claims of two per cent and 19 cent respectively. The number of single claims has been showing a downward trend over recent years.

The number of jurisdictional complaints was 321,800 in 2011 to 2012, meaning that there were on average 1.73 jurisdictional complaints per claim. Of those, 31 per cent were for unfair dismissal, breach of contract and redundancy; 29 per cent were for cases to do with Working Time Regulations (largely airline cases that are resubmitted every three months); and 16 per cent were for unauthorised deductions (Wages Act).

The report suggests that the increase and subsequent peak in 2010 to 2011 in the number of jurisdictional complaints for unfair dismissal, breach of contract and redundancy may be “as a result of the economic climate”. In addition, there has been a change in the number of complaints associated with Working Time Regulations (fewer multiple resubmitted airline cases were input in 2008 to 2009).

ETs disposed of 110,800 cases during 2011 to 2012, ten per cent fewer than in the previous year. This follows a year on year increase since 2007 to 2008.

The recent drop in disposals was seen for both single and multiple claims – with falls of six per cent and 14 per cent respectively.

Of the 230,000 jurisdictional complaints disposed of in the last year, 40 per cent related to unfair dismissal, breach of contract and redundancy; 16 per cent were for unauthorised deductions (Wages Act) and ten per cent concerned equal pay.

To read the full report, go to the Ministry of Justice website [ PDF, 139KB ]