Tribunal claims on the rise following abolition of fees

by | Oct 1, 2018 | News

Has the number of outstanding employment tribunals increased in your workplace? If so, you’re far from alone… One year on since tribunal fees were abolished, their number has more than doubled according to official statistics from The Ministry of Justice – leaving many SMEs and in-house HR functions struggling to cope with the influx.

The second quarter of 2018 saw single case numbers rise by 130 percent, compared with the same period in 2017; furthermore, the total number of claims were up by 165 percent.

“Employees can now bring forward cases without incurring any cost to themselves,” explained Ellen Parkin MCIPD, Managing Director of Spire HR.

“As a result, companies which have a limited HR function are struggling to manage their mounting caseload – restricting their ability to work on positive employee interventions that are responsible for fuelling growth.”

In July 2017, the Supreme Court ruled that tribunal fees – in some cases totalling as much as £1,200 per claim – were unlawful and unconstitutional. The sharp rise in claimants may also be a contributing factor towards the longer period it now takes for cases to be brought to justice.

“The longer it takes for a tribunal to conclude, the more stressful the process is for both the employee and employer,” observed Ellen.

“This can impact on not only productivity, but also the morale of the workplace – especially within SMEs, where teams are particularly close-knit.”

How to reduce employment tribunal costs

The ‘hidden cost’ of the increase in tribunal caseloads is often the time spent on paperwork; prolonged case management can put a considerable strain on administrative resources, which are (more often than not) limited at best.

Outsourcing your HR function or seeking expert tribunal support can, therefore, significantly reduce the backlog of cases that may be stifling your organisation.

“There are three main benefits to working with an outsourced HR function,” added Ellen.

“Firstly, it allows you to engage with a fully qualified HR Manager or Director without adding to your headcount and incurring an additional cost to your payroll.

‘Secondly, you can take a more proactive approach towards ensuring you have the correct systems and processes in place to manage employee grievances legally and effectively before they escalate to tribunal stage. This not only improves your company culture, but it also reduces the likelihood of rash decisions being taken that can potentially lead to time-consuming and costly tribunals.

‘Finally, bringing in the support of a HR Director at Board level can help accelerate growth, as having a People Strategy in place aids organisational development and transformation.”

To discuss Spire HR’s Employment Law support offering, telephone 01925 626253 or email

As we had recently come up against some difficult staffing issues which we had not experienced before, Ellen Parkin at Spire HR was recommended to us by one of our business partners to guide and assist us with the complex HR legalities we needed to adhere to.

Ellen was very efficient and professional and gave us instant confidence that she would be able to competently provide the help we needed. Ellen was readily accessible via email or telephone throughout the whole process and gave us the vital lifeline we needed during a very emotive and stressful time. Spire HR realised that as an SME, we had to balance the commercial viability for HR consultancy with the expertise and guidance we needed and Ellen was open and honest from the outset, providing a cost-effective and professional service. I would therefore have no hesitation in recommending Spire HR to anyone.


We are too small to justify a full-time HR employee; yet we cannot afford to ‘get it wrong’ The excellent service offered by Spire HR Solutions is the perfect solution for us


AGP have used Spire HR Solutions Limited for numerous matters relating to HR issues for both ourselves and clients of the practice. I have always found them to be extremely knowledgeable and helpful and to be very responsive to our needs.

Spire is now the practice’s first point of contact for any HR issues we encounter and I would certainly recommend them to anyone in need of assistance with any HR matters.


Ellen has helped streamline procedures and provide greater controls through her extensive knowledge and professional dedication, which has enabled me to concentrate on my main objective, growing the business.

I would say ‘key’ to her service is the confidence she provides with the HR guidance, I know without doubt that when dealing with my employees I follow the correct procedure and staff feel confident that they have the right HR support. The guidance on our bonus structure and appraisal scheme is one of many examples in which Ellen’s guidance has been invaluable.

I have been pleased with work Ellen has done for us and would not hesitate to recommend her to others. She provides a high quality, professional service and is very responsive to the needs of a small, growing organisation.