It has been on the horizon for some time, but the Ministry of Justice has finally announced the results of its consultation on introducing fees for Employment Tribunal cases. The aim of the proposals is to try to cover some of the costs of the Tribunal system.
Unsurprisingly, the outcome is that fees are definitely going to be introduced, and they will come into effect in summer 2013. The main points to be aware of are:
- The most basic claims (such as claims for redundancy payments or unlawful deductions from wages) will attract an issue fee of £160 (paid at the time of bringing the claim). A further fee of £230 will be payable if the matter goes to a hearing.
- For anything other than the most straightforward claims (i.e. the majority of cases) there will be an issue fee of £250 and a hearing fee of £950.
- There are also other fees during proceedings, such as £60 for an application to dismiss a claim following settlement.
The Employment Judge will have the discretion to require the Respondent to pay the fees, and it is expected that this will usually apply where the Claimant wins.
At first glance this has the potential to have a dramatic impact on the number of claims that will be brought. However, the fees are dependent upon the Claimant’s ability to pay, because the remission system (which is also used in the civil courts for their fees) will apply.
As we covered in our seminar ‘The Sack Race?’ back in January 2012, the remission system is complicated, but basically it involves a reduction in the fees depending on the individual’s income and family circumstances – those who have no income (which is, of course, often the case with employment cases, by definition) may not have to pay a fee at all.
This will be key in determining the impact these changes will have on the number of claims being brought. The Government is planning to undertake a review of the remissions system to ensure that it is efficient and cost-effective. We will of course keep you informed as things develop in the lead up to the introduction of fees next year.
For advice on any aspect of employment law, why not contact our friendly team on 01243 836840 or email [email protected]. We’d be delighted to hear from you.