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Employment tribunal claims plummeted in 2013 according to figures revealed this week. There were 9,801 claims in the last quarter of 2013, 79% less than the same time the year before and 75% less than the previous quarter.
Heather Grant, employment lawyer at Liverpool law firm Maxwell Hodge said: "Tribunal claims have plummeted nationally and this can really be put at the door of recent changes where employees have to pay fees to pursue a tribunal claim. It has simply become too expensive for individuals to pursue justice."
The government brought the new fees in last July with a £160 charge to issue a tribunal claim, rising to £250 depending on the type of claim and between £230 and £950 for further hearings.
Dave Prentis, Unison's general secretary said: "The disastrous effect of tribunal fees is now blatantly obvious. The introduction of fees was unfair and they should be dropped. Money should never be a barrier to justice, so it is deeply disturbing that this is exactly what is happening for thousands of workers since the fees were introduced."
Heather Grant added: "Fees for pursuing a tribunal claim appear to be a big deterrent on workers pursuing anything through the courts and this is alarming. This could also become a potential issue for employers because if staff feel that they can no longer defend their own interests through legal processes then they will look to other ways to have their say, such as using the trade unions and more radical action to fight their battles, and this could create even more complications for businesses in the long run."