The Ministry of Justice has recently published its response to the consultation on charging fees to bring and progress claims in the Employment Tribunal. Bringing a claim is currently free of charge with the full cost been met by the tax payer. By introducing fees, people using the employment tribunal will start to contribute to the costs of the tribunal system. The aim is to reduce the taxpayer subsidy of these tribunals by transferring some of the cost to those who use the service, while protecting access to justice for all.
The intention is that fees will be introduced by the middle of 2013 as follows:
- A tribunal fee to issue proceedings of Â£160 for straight forward claims such as unlawful deduction of wages and a further fee of Â£230 if the matter is listed for hearing
- A tribunal fee to issue proceedings of Â£250 for the majority of other claims including unfair dismissal and a further fee of Â£950 if the matter is to be listed for a hearing
- At the Employment Appeals Tribunal, there would be a fee of Â£400 and a hearing fee of Â£1200.
The introduction of fees is part of the Government’s programme to promote early resolution of disputes to help individuals and businesses to get on with their lives and their businesses.
Taxpayers will continue to meet the full cost of the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) which provides a free service to help workers and businesses settle disputes without the need to go to a tribunal.
The new fees may come as good news to some employers as it is likely that by introducing a cost to bring a claim, ‘weak’ claims may be less likely to go to the tribunal. Having said this, it is likely that a fee remission system will be implemented; meaning that claimants on low incomes and benefits may not have to pay the tribunal fee.
By Sally Eastwood, Trainee Solicitor