New Employment Tribunal Fees from Summer 2013

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A response has been published by the Government on the introduction of fees to Employment Tribunals, starting next summer. The aim of introducing fees is to encourage both the employee and employer to settle the dispute prior to a full hearing to avoid spending tax payers’ money on costly hearings. A consultation process has taken place which sought views on two different fee charging structures for employment tribunals and one for the Employment Appeal Tribunal. There has been a difference of opinion over this with employers being broadly in favour and representatives of claimants being against the proposals as they considered an unfair barrier to justice could be created. People who responded to the consultation broadly preferred a two stage fee – one being paid on submission of a claim and the other a hearing fee, giving a second opportunity for parties to consider a settlement prior to the hearing. The following changes have been announced:
  • Two main fees will be introduced – the first payable when the claim is first made and the second hearing fee to be payable four weeks before the hearing.
  • The fees will be based on two fee levels which apply and will be dependent on the type of claim. Level 1 claims include claims for unpaid wages and holiday pay for which a £390 fee will be charged. Level 2 claims include unfair dismissal, discrimination and detriment claims for which a fee of £1,200 will be charged.
  • Mediation by a judge will be charged at £600.
  • Fees will be payable in advance and most types of fee will only apply to the employee who is bringing the claim.
  • Tribunals will have the authority to order the unsuccessful party to reimburse the fee to the successful party.
  • No separate fees will be charged for requesting written reasons for a decision made by a tribunal. A £400 issue fee and a £1,200 hearing fee will be charged for applications to the Employment Appeals Tribunal.
  • The Government will review the remission system later this year with the aim of introducing a system which is “simpler to use, more cost effective and better targeted to ensure that those who can afford to pay fees do so, while continuing to provide access to the courts and tribunal system to those who cannot.”
It will be interesting to see how the number of claims made to employment tribunals are affected by these changes.

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