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Update - Refund Scheme for Employment Tribunal Fees Now Up and Running

In our blog of 25 August 2017, we reported that earlier in the summer, the Supreme Court had ruled that Employment Tribunal fees were unlawful and had been abolished. The Government had announced that Claimants who had paid Tribunal fees (or Respondents who had been ordered by the Tribunal to pay a Claimant’s fees) would be able to seek reimbursement of those fees from the Government. At that stage, it was not clear how the refund scheme would operate in practice and a further announcement from the Government was awaited.

Who is eligible to apply for a refund?

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We can now report that the Government’s refund scheme for Employment Tribunal fees is up and running, so that applications can be made for reimbursement of any Tribunal fees paid between 29 July 2013 and 26 July 2017. Anyone who believes that they are eligible for a refund of Tribunal fees can now apply. Initially, the Government had opened its refund scheme only to 1,000 people, whom it contacted and invited to apply. The Government reports that this first phase has been successfully completed, so that the scheme is now fully open to everyone.

How to apply for a refund

Full details of how to apply for a refund are set out on the website www.Gov.uk. Applications can in some cases, be made online. Online applications can only be made if:

  • The applicant’s name has not changed since making the Tribunal claim.

  • The claim was made against one employer.

  • The applicant has a UK bank account.

If these conditions are not satisfied, the applicant must complete a form and send it to the Tribunal either by email or post. There are three different forms to be used to claim a refund, depending on the applicant’s circumstances:

  1. Refund Form 1C for Claimants – this should be used by applicants who paid the Tribunal fees themselves.

  2. Refund Form 3S for Multiple Claims and Sponsors – this should be used by applicants who paid the fees so that someone else could bring the claim e.g. trade unions or lawyers.

  3. Refund Form 2R for Respondents – this should be used by applicants who the Tribunal ordered to pay someone else’s fees (in most cases, unsuccessful Respondents).

The Tribunals have confirmed to us that a Respondent who paid a fee in respect of bringing an Employer Contract Claim against a Claimant employee cannot seek a refund of this online (despite the fact that the Respondent is, in fact, the Claimant in the Employer Contract Claim), but should instead make its application for a refund using Form 2R for Respondents.  The online portal has not been set up for Respondents.  

What information do I need to apply for a refund?

Depending on your circumstances, you may need some or all of the following information to hand to when making your application:

  • Names and addresses of the parties to the claim.

  • Case number.

  • Details of the Tribunal fees in respect of which you are claiming a refund – (i) amount paid, (ii) type of fee (you will complete a tick box for this containing various choices), (iii) date of payment and (iv) payment method. To find this out, look back over copies of any forms or letters which you sent to the Tribunal during the litigation, your bank statements, chequebook stubs, Tribunal judgments, settlement agreements or COT3 agreements reached through ACAS. 

  • If you were ordered by the Tribunal to pay fees to another party (and you are seeking a refund of this), you will need to provide a copy of the Tribunal’s Order, as well as evidence that you did, in fact, reimburse your opponent (e.g. your bank statement or a receipt from your opponent).

  • Proof of change of name (if your name has changed since you brought your Tribunal claim).

  • Proof of death or of Power of Attorney if you are claiming a refund as the executor or the Attorney of a party entitled to a refund of fees.

What will I get?

If the Tribunal agrees that a refund is due to an applicant, it will write to inform you that your application has been successful and will transfer the relevant amount into your bank account, together with 0.5% interest. If you think you may be entitled to apply for a refund, now’s the time to apply for a welcome pre-Christmas windfall!

Please contact us if you require further advice or assistance in making a refund application.

 

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