Over the course of the last year, the courts have witnessed a rise in the amount of claims against age discrimination.

As well as the rise in applicants there has been an increase in the amount of damages applicants have been receiving, with a top pay out of £144,100 this year. In the United Kingdom the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 are responsible in part for the increase in claims. There has been an increase in applications year on year since it came in to force with the public becoming increasingly aware of their rights.

According to figures from HM Courts and Tribunal Service the number of general employment tribunal claims brought over the last 12 months has fallen. The data, released on 1 September, revealed a distinctive trend upwards in age discrimination claims. They increased by a huge 32%, in sharp contrast to other discrimination claims which all stayed at a similar level to 2009/10.

Employers should be prepared for the effects of the removal of compulsory retirement ages as this will likely bring about more claims in the future. The average award of damages in an age discrimination claim is double that of other forms of discrimination at around £12,000. It is possible that this higher rate of damages is awarded as the older the applicant the less likely they are deemed to be able to attain new employment.

There has been an 8% fall overall in tribunal claims. The courts are still under a lot of pressure from the amount of claims being brought and, given the state of the economy, it is not likely to improve much over the coming months.

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