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Judges accused of not exercising their power to prevent employment tribunal backlog

Judges accused of not exercising their power to prevent employment tribunal backlog

City A.M - 17 February 2020

Judges did not use their power to dismiss claims early at employment tribunals in 94,330 cases last year.

The backlog of cases increased 39% in the year 31 March 2019 from 19,116 the previous year. 

The early dismissal of claims is possible under ‘Rule 27’, which allows judges to dismiss a claim (or a response) they believe has no reasonable prospect of success before it reaches a court hearing, reducing employees’ and employers’ legal costs and reducing the burden on the Employment Tribunal system.

Raoul Parekh, partner at law firm GQ Littler, said: “Why go to the trouble of creating a power, and then not use it? With the backlog of claims ever worsening and limited resources, tribunal judges should use every option to stem the tide.

“The fact that judges are not using their powers to dismiss claims early may reflect their sympathy towards claimants in wanting to give their case a chance rather than dismissing them out of hand. Understandably, judges will not want to restrict access to justice.

“However, the high volume of claims reaching a first hearing is contributing to the worsening backlog. This backlog of cases is prolonging the process for both employees and employers, who are being left in the dark over when their case will be resolved. 

“There is an urgent need to address the lack of resources at tribunals, through new funding for front line judicial staff as well as administrative staff. In the meantime, it is important to find ways of improving efficiency. 

“If the backlog and waiting times continue to grow, employment tribunals will cease to be an effective body for employees or employers.”


Read the full article here.