Employment Tribunals

It has been reported that Exeter Tribunal has seen a drop of circa 75% in the volume of unfair dismissal claims issued of late since fees were introduced in July last year.

This statistic is alarming and supports our grave concerns that the introduction of Tribunal fees is dramatically restricting access to justice. Clearly, such a large drop cannot be explained away by any suggestion that this 75% represent frivolous or vexatious claims or claims without merit.

The latter category would represent a small percentage of 75% in our view.

The balance is likely to be valid claims with merit that individuals do not pursue through fear of having to pay up to £1200 in Tribunal fees when they are likely to be without employment. It is this fear that is causing this reluctance.

On the ground, we have formed the view that the mere mention of potential Tribunal fees scares people off bringing valid claims. Potential Claimants should remember that if they are still without employment, they are at liberty to apply for remission against having to pay these fees and of course we can assist them in this regard.

The remission system has clearly been designed to make it as hard as possible for individuals to gain remission, which is disappointing given that we are dealing with vulnerable people who have lost their financial independence.

Whilst the Government seem hell-bent on unashamedly restricting access to justice to save money, we urge Claimants who believe they have a valid claim to let us assist them in pursuing their claims and helping them navigate through the hurdles the system currently presents.

Let’s hope the Court does the right thing this Friday when they deliver their Judgement on the Judicial Review application against the introduction of these fees and gets rid of them.

Can an employment tribunal refuse to admit covert recordings?

No, says the EAT in Vaughan v London Borough of Lewisham and Others.


The Regulations appear to contemplate and encourage a process where Claimants are unrepresented. I note the EC form proposed contains no details of any appointed representative. With this in mind, I am struggling to understand how a lay unrepresented Claimant (a) will fully appreciate what legal claims they may or may not have and on which they are being asked to conciliate; and (b) the value of those claims, so the Claimant will be able to make an informed decision on whether to settle via EC in the terms proposed.


As part of the EC process, it seems that ACAS will potentially be put in the unenviable position of having to advise Claimants about the nature of their potential claims and their value. It is clearly undesirable for ACAS to be put in such a position and one that may ultimately lead to satellite litigation in the form of claims for negligence if Claimants are not fully advised as they would be if they had been legally represented in a normal Solicitor/Client relationship.


I am also concerned about the settlements being concluded via COT3 agreement, where the lay Claimant has not taken legal advice before agreeing to settle in those terms and compromise any future actions. If there were compromising their claims via Compromise Agreement, they would have that right.


I am all for early conciliation but it must involve, contemplate and encourage legal representation to be an integral part of the process for what are, to me, abundantly obvious reasons. No doubt this would also assist ACAS greatly as well.

Dean Morris