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Introduction of Fees in Employment Tribunals

The Ministry of Justice has published the results of its consultation on the introduction of fees in employment tribunals.

The proposed structure includes the following fees:

An issue fee for Level 1 claims (generally for sums due on termination of employment – for example unpaid wages, statutory redundancy pay, etc) of £160, with a further fee of £230 if the matter proceeds to final hearing.

An issue fee for Level 2 claims (such as unfair dismissal, discrimination and equal pay) of £250, with a further fee of £950 if the matter proceeds to final hearing.

An issue fee for appeals at the Employment Appeal Tribunal of £400, with a further fee of £1,200 if the matter proceeds to a hearing.

An issue fee of £160 if an employer wishes to bring a counterclaim against an employee.

A fee of £600 for judicial mediation.

A fee of £60 for an application to dismiss a matter once it has settled.

There are a number of other fees proposed, for example where there are multiple claimants against the same employer, which can be found in the response document on the Ministry of Justice website by following this link:  

 https://consult.justice.gov.uk/digital-communications/et-fee-charging-regime-cp22-2011

The Government intends to extend the fee remission system currently available in the civil courts to the tribunals, meaning those who can provide evidence that they cannot afford the issue or hearing fees may not be required to pay all or any of the fee.  This will of course limit the impact the introduction of fees, as a large proportion of claimants may well be unemployed at the time a claim is issued and therefore should be eligible to claim such remissions.

Nevertheless, the introduction of fees – although now billed by the Government as being aimed at defraying the cost of the employment tribunal system – is expected to prevent many people bringing claims or appeals who would otherwise have done so.  That is good news for employers.  On the negative side for employers, the risk of having to pay a claimant’s fees in the event of a successful claim will provide a further driver to settle claims and, at the same time, may add to the cost of settlements.  Employers concerned about the cost of defending claims can insure against legal costs, awards or settlements with our TLC product.

The Government proposes to implement the fee system next summer, and so we can expect more details on how it is to be implemented, together with details on the remission system, within the next year.