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What do the latest employment tribunal statistics tell us?

The Ministry of Justice has published the annual employment tribunal statistics, so what has changed since last year?

Tribunal claims – continue to rise

Since employment tribunal fees were abolished in July 2017, we have seen a steady increase in the number tribunal claims and this year is no different.

  • The number of single claims in the most recent quarter (April to June 2019) is up 14% from the same time last year.
  • Multiple claims are not as predictable as figures can be distorted by a number of claims being made against one employer. The number of multiple claims has decreased by 57% from the same time last year.
  • In the year 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019 a total of 121,075 employment tribunal applications were received, compared with 109,685 the previous year.

The steady increase in tribunal claims is expected following the abolition of employment tribunal fees. However, the number of claims is still a long way off the level seen before the introduction of fees in 2013, which saw 191,541 in 2012/13. It is expected that the number of claims will continue to rise over the next few years.

The type of claims which have increased the most include sex discrimination, unfair dismissal, failure to inform and consult on a redundancy, and disability discrimination.


Whilst there was an increase in the highest award made for several types of claim, interestingly the statistics show that the middle and average awards for all claims, apart from age discrimination, were lower than the previous year.

  • Tribunals made awards in 774 claims which is an increase of 102 from the previous year (660 unfair dismissal claims and 114 discrimination claims).
  • The highest average award was for claims of disability discrimination (£28,371). The lowest average was for claims of religious discrimination at £4,767. The average award for unfair dismissal was £13,704.
  • The highest sum awarded in an employment tribunal claim in 2018/2019 was £947,585 in an unfair dismissal claim (the statutory cap for unfair dismissal claims does not apply in certain circumstances).
  • The highest sum awarded in a discrimination claim was £416,015 (disability discrimination).

Fee refunds

Following the abolition of the tribunal fees in July 2017, the fee refund scheme was set up in October 2017. Since then, the total value of refunds now made is up to £17,589,491.  In the most recent quarter 312 payments were made totalling £264, 603.  This is a significant decrease compared to the same quarter last year which saw 4711 payments being made and seems to indicate that this process is slowing down.


Interestingly the number of costs awards made by employment tribunals in 2018/2019 dropped by 270 to 209. Of the costs awards made, more were to the respondent which continues the recent trend. The average costs award remains similar to previous years at £2,400.

Please get in touch with your usual Brodies contact should you wish to discuss anything raised in this blog in more detail.

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