Employment tribunal cases rise
Employment tribunal cases rise. More claimants represent themselves in an overloaded and complex court system
According to the employment barrister Bruce Carr, in most cases, claimants are left to pay their own costs in tribunal cases and that leaves many with no choice but to go it alone and represent themselves. He also says that the complexity of the process can be a huge disincentive and intimidating.
Last year, according to figures produced by the Ministry of Justice, there were 121,075 claims – a 10 per cent increase on the previous year. 2017 saw the biggest increase when tribunal fees were scrapped. This has left the tribunal system understaffed and in some cases, the claims process takes well over a year. According to the BBC, the Ministry of Justice has hired 58 extra judges to deal with the increase, has spent £8m on support measures and has pledged a further £3m. However, this is still not enough for a process that can be emotional and draining for both employers and claimants.
Published: 2nd August 2019
Phishing gets worse
A new method used by cybercriminals to carry out funds transfer fraud is through the electronic manipulation of documents.
For example, one claim involved a plastics manufacturer whose computer systems were hacked. This allowed the fraudsters to access the invoice payment templates that were sent out to their customers.
The fraudsters changed the bank details on the form so that when they were issued to customers, the payment simply went to the fraudsters' account rather than the client's. Some £140,000 was transferred to the fraudsters before the client realised what had happened.
The need for employers to get covered up
As we have reported previously, employment claims continue to increase apace. 2017 gave us a 90% increase in ACAS notifications and this year looks to be a further 25% on that figure.
We think this means that currently there are now around 4 new ACAS notifications every hour and our larger clients face roughly a 1 in 15 chance of facing a Tribunal each year.
We continue to see an increase in vexatious claims, often professionally supported and with a wide range of spurious extra complaints and a Data Access request - all of which is designed to increase the perceived complexity, length and cost of the Tribunal.
Faced with an expensive longer hearing, many insurers will look for a deal to settle, so it’s game set and match to the unjustified.
No insurer likes an expensive pyric victory. In a recent example a claimant alleged that a delay in agreeing to an early retirement application was due to disability discrimination. It was not, it was simply a poor process that was badly administered but it took a full ET, an Appeal and finally a Court of Appeal decision to lay the claim to rest. With legal costs in the region of £70,000 any business without adequate insurance would find this a hard cost to bear.
Our average insured claim cost is now £8000, enough to dent the annual dividends of most smaller companies and we have met several claims over £50,000 already this year.
Best advice for SME’s is to completely ‘outsource the employment risk’ – offer them an integrated advice and insurance retainer costing as little as a £150 per month from your favourite local HR provider.
Cyber attacks - are you prepared?
We are not looking to sell you cover (not yet, we are still developing our product) but there is a clear and present danger, not least because of digital crime factories focused on attacking Western business infrastructure.
Most current business insurance policies were designed decades before the Internet or electronic trading. Way before many “data assets” even existed.
In this short piece we are simply alerting you to the gaps you may have in your risk management programme.
We are first choice for employment lawyers!
We are first choice for employment lawyers
As market leader in legal expenses insurance for law firms we are proud to claim we were the first in many areas:
FIRST – Price promise – never beaten like for like
FIRST – Policy wording to respond to ACAS pre-conciliation
FIRST – Policy without a "prospects of success" catch-out clause
FIRST – Policy to provide representation for GDPR claims
FIRST – to allow solicitors flexible choice of claims handling rates
No joining fee, free marketing assistance, no exclusivity requirement and probably the widest standard policy wording.
We understand employment solicitors and we understand the wider business community.
In fact we have an alignment of interest in helping you to win business retainers and keep them!