Citizen’s Advice has published its latest report on the non-payment of awards by employers. Justice Denied, is an interesting, but depressing, account of the problem.
The report concludes that approximately one in ten tribunal awards is not paid by the respondent. They estimate that, in 2007/08 CABs dealt with about £4.5 million in unpaid judgments. The total UK figure, of course, will be much higher.
Citizen’s Advice also criticises the enforcement process. Since the tribunal has no enforcement powers, awards must be registered in the County Court. Then claimants are presented with a confusing and complex system of bailiffs, charging orders, bankruptcy applications and third-party debt orders. This is plainly unsatisfactory.
Unfortunately the proposed solution – that the government step in to pay all tribunal awards initially, before enforcing against the respondent – has a snowball’s chance in hell of coming into reality.