Fri 09 Sep 2016

Employment Tribunal Awards Statistics 2015-2016

The Ministry of Justice has published its annual employment tribunal award statistics.  Not long after the  Justice Committee report on employment tribunal fees concluded that fees had "an unacceptable impact on access to justice" and recommended that they be substantially reduced, the statistics show that the number of tribunal applications has risen for the first time since fees have been introduced. 

In the year 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2016 a total of 83,031 tribunal applications were made.  This compares to 61,308 the previous year, 105,803 in 2013/14 and 191,541 claims in 2012/13 which was the last full year prior to fees being introduced.  It is not immediately clear why there has been an increase in the number of claims raised in tribunals. No doubt supporters of charging fees will say this is a turning point whereas those looking to have fees abolished in the rest of the UK (the Scottish government having already promised to do so) will say it is a temporary blip perhaps fueled by the number of holiday pay claims that have been made in the past 12 months. 


ACAS have recently published their annual report which shows that of approximately 92,000 early conciliation notifications that they received only 19% progressed to a tribunal claim.  However, only 16% were settled via a COT3 settlement and the reasons why the remaining 65% did not progress to tribunal is not clear and may well have been impacted upon by tribunal fees.  It is of note that the number of ET1 notifications received by ACAS in the year 2015/16 increased from the previous year, something that is reflected in the annual tribunal figures.


The results of a post implementation review of the introduction of the fees by the Ministry of Justice is still awaited, and Unison's appeal against the Court of Appeal's decision to dismiss their challenge to the introduction of fees is due to be heard by the Supreme Court on 7 and 8 December 2016.  The outcome of both of these, as well as the recommendations of the Justice Committee, will likely impact on the level of fees that may be charged in the future.


The detail of the statistics also makes for interesting reading. 


The highest sum awarded in a tribunal claim was £1,762,130 and was awarded in a sex discrimination claim.  High awards were also made in disability discrimination claims however the maximum awards for race and age discrimination were considerably lower than the previous year.  Unlike most unfair dismissal claims, discrimination claims are not subject to a statutory cap and can include awards for injury to feelings. That said, the highest award for an unfair dismissal claim was £470,865 which will have involved an unfair dismissal claim where the statutory cap did not apply.  The average award for unfair dismissal was £13,851, up by about £1,500 on the previous year.


The number of costs awards made by the Tribunal in 2015/16 followed the pattern begun last year and reduced from 870 in 2014/15 to 658 in 2015/16.  Looking at these figure in more detail one emerging pattern is that more awards were made to Claimants than Respondents.  This is the second year in a row this has been the case whereas historically significantly more costs awards were made in favour of Respondents than Claimants. 


The maximum costs award made was £102,967 but the median award remained at £1000 for the third year in a row. 


Maximum, Median and Average Awards for Unfair Dismissal and Discrimination 2015/16



Maximum award

Median award

Average Award

 Unfair Dismissal




 Sex Discrimination




 Race Discrimination




 Disability Discrimination




 Age Discrimination




 Religious Discrimination




 Sexual Orientation





The full report is available here.

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