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East Midlands Chamber News

Employment tribunal claims fall in 2004

According to Manchester-based law firm Peninsula, the number of employment tribunal cases fell from 127,594 in 2003 to 97,896 in 2004.Mike Huss, senior employment law specialist at Peninsula, said: "When you see the large awards that are made and you become aware of the 'no win, no fee' organisations trying to assist people to make claims combined with an increase in employee rights, then I believe the number of employment tribunal applications made against employers will certainly rise over forthcoming years."However, Tony McPhillips, head of the employment group at law firm Robert Muckle, said he was surprised the number of claims made in 2004 had gone down."In this region, even though we do our best to avoid tribunals and promote good practice, my feeling is that the number of claims has gone up.McPhillips also felt that instead of seeing a rise in claims this year, the Statutory Disputes Resolution Procedure introduced in October 2004 - which requires employers to follow a three-step discipline and grievance procedure in an attempt to reduce tribunal claims - would have the desired effect."I've seen applicants who have been keen to bring a claim lose interest as the appeals process is so protracted. I'm not sure that we will see the increase in claims that many people expect, especially as there has been plenty of publicity surrounding the new rules," he added.Melanie Patton, HR associate at law firm Eversheds, agreed, saying there is some evidence that the number of tribunals is falling and that disputes are being resolved at an earlier stage."However, discipline and grievance regulations are so complex that employers are having to take an increasing amount of legal advice," she warned.

  • Find out more about tribunals by visiting www.acas.org.uk/a_z/employment_tribunal.html.

(c) Business Hotline Publications Ltd 2005