People Management - 18 February 2020
Judges have been criticised for not exercising their power of early dismissal for claims unlikely to succeed in employment tribunals despite a growing backlog of cases.
Judges are able to dismiss a claim if it is out of their jurisdiction, or if they believe it has no reasonable prospect of success before it reaches a court hearing under Rule 27.
Data from the Ministry of Justice, analysed by GQ|Littler, revealed judges did not exercise Rule 27 in any of the 94,330 new cases received by employment tribunals in 2018-19. GQ|Littler found the backlog of claims increased by 39% to 26,664 in the year to 31 March 2019, up from 19,116 in the previous year.
Raoul Parekh, partner at GQ Littler, said judges not exercising this power was contributing to the worsening backlog of claims. He warned employers’ attention could end up distracted from more important strategic management issues because of uncertainty over claims.
“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,” Parekh said. “If the backlog and waiting times continue to grow, employment tribunals will cease to be an effective body for employees or employers.”
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