Lies, damned lies and statistics? – what the Employment Tribunal statistics and trends tell us

1 July 2011

Statistics relating to the Employment Tribunals have recently been released for the year 2010 to 2011 (click here for the details).

The statistics provide a snap shot of the types of cases and awards that have taken place in the Employment Tribunals during this period. They also present the reality of claims and awards rather than the sometimes misleading focus that can be presented in the media.

What do the statistics tell us?

  • There was a reduction of 8% in the number of claims lodged as compared with 2009-2010, but as the figures represent an increase of 44% from 2008-2009, Employment Tribunals are still very busy;
  • The rate of disposal of claims has increased by 9%, so Employment Tribunals are getting through the cases at an increasing rate, but they are not keeping pace with the number of claims (as compared to 2008-2009);
  • 39% of claims related to unfair dismissal, breach of contract and redundancy;
  • 32% of claims were withdrawn and 29% settled via ACAS. Therefore almost two thirds were disposed of without proceeding to a full hearing; and
  • 12% of claims were successful at hearing.

Discrimination claims

  • Sex discrimination remains the leading grounds of discrimination claimed by some way (more than double the number of disability discrimination claims which are the second greatest number of discrimination claims);
  • The number of age discrimination claims is steadily increasing and will soon represent the second greatest number of discrimination claims if current trends continue;
  • The number of religious discrimination claims remains very low. It would seem they seem to attract a disproportionate level of press attention.


The statistics are still skewed by the large number of working time and equal pay cases, which arise from particular actions, however, many claims involve an allegation of discrimination. Such claims tend to be more complicated and Employment Tribunals have a reluctance to adopt robust case management. Given the low success rates of claims, perhaps this reluctance is not justifiable?

Age discrimination claims are only likely to increase with the abolition of the Default Retirement Age, and maybe soon they will represent the greatest number of discrimination cases?

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