Two years after upfront fees brought a slump, cases are beginning to rise again

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Employment tribunal claims are beginning to increase again, according to new figures published by Hugh James Solicitors.

Two years ago, when legislation was passed forcing employees to pay upfront fees (of up to £1,250), the number of employment tribunals slumped by 70% between April-June 2014. Sex discrimination cases fell by the greatest - by 91%.

The dramatic falls saw the lowest number of cases brought forward since records began, and led to the accusation employees were being priced out of taking bad employers to court.

However, the research by Hugh James Solicitors finds that in the three months to December 2014, the number of claims grew by 16% compared to the number brought in the three months to June. A total of 4,390 cases were heard.

The rise could impact the High Court’s decision to review the impact of the introduction of fees, which it has promised to do once a sufficient period of time has passed for it to look at the data.

Emma Burns, partner Hugh James, says, “When the cost for launching a claim was first introduced, it was a shock. But now people seem more acclimatised to the fees.”

Although the number of cases has risen, it is still below the levels before fees were introduced. In the three months to September 2013, there were 10,900 discrimination cases heard.