Proposed New Fees for Employment Tribunals

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The Government has now launched consultation on the introduction of proposed fees for employment tribunals. Justice Minister, Jonathan Djanogly, outlined two possible options:
  1. An initial fee of between £150 and £250 for a claimant to begin a claim with an additional fees of between £250 and £1250 if the claim goes to a hearing with no limit to the maximum award, or
  2. A single fee of between £200 and £600 with a limit to the maximum award of £30,000, with the option of an additional fee of £1750 for a claimant seeking awards above this amount.
Both options would give power to the Tribunal to order the unsuccessful party to reimburse fees paid by the successful party. The reason for these proposals it to encourage both parties to give greater consideration to the strength of their case prior to a tribunal, saving time and money as it is estimated that the cost of tribunals to the tax payer totals £84 million each year. Jonathan Djanogly said: “We believe that people should pay a fair amount towards the cost of their case. Fee waivers will be available for people on low incomes to protect access to justice. Our proposed fees will encourage businesses and workers to settle problems earlier, though non-tribunal routes like conciliation or mediation, and we want to give businesses – particularly small businesses – the confidence to create new jobs without fear of being dragged into unnecessary actions. The Ministry of Justice statement said that in 2010/11, there were 218,100 employment tribunal claims which was a 44% increase on 2008/09. The cost to the tax payer rose from £77.8 million to £84 million over the same period. The consultation will close in March 2012 with a view to introducing fees during 2013/2014.

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