Tribunal fees

In a recent update, we had a look in detail at the new tribunal fee structure being brought in this summer, subject to the necessary IT systems and administrative processes being in place. This morning, the HM Courts & Tribunal Service (HMCTS) has announced, subject to parliamentary approval, the 'go live' date will be Monday 29 July 2013.

Claims made to the employment tribunal or Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) on or after 29 July will attract fees. Any claim in the system before fees are implemented will not attract fee payments. So, a claim issued on or before 28 July will not attract an issue fee or a hearing fee, even though the hearing date will be after 29 July. However, should an appeal subsequently be made to the EAT, the EAT fees would be payable.

In the letter announcing the 'go live' date, the Deputy Director of Tribunals also states that HMCTS will 'in due course' share a further set of questions and answers on the new business processes and the arrangements for the move to the new fee structure.

Payment of fees will no doubt affect the mindset of many tribunal users. In the short-term, we may see a spike in tribunal claims being lodged before 29 July. Please see our alert on 'Employment tribunal user fees are nigh!' for details of the new fee structure.

While today's announcement does not refer to the new simplified tribunal rules, HMCTS has previously indicated an intention to introduce the revised rules on the same date as the fees come into force.

DBS criminal records checks

The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) has announced that the new online 'portable' checks system will be in place from 17 June.

Under the new system, individuals will be able to subscribe to an update service for an annual fee of £13. The update service will keep their criminal record certificate up-to-date and allow them to take it with them when moving between jobs with similar checking requirements.

Employers will not need to join the update service or pay a fee to check a DBS certificate. However, employers must have the individual's consent to be legally entitled to apply for a DBS certificate and the individual must be subscribed to the update service.

And much more

The above implementation dates are in addition to the previously announced date of 25 June in relation to:

  • Revision of the whistleblowing provisions;
  • Revision of the unfair dismissal compensation cap;
  • Removal of qualifying service for unfair dismissals due to political opinion or affiliation; and
  • Curbs on the Equality and Human Rights Commission's duties and powers.

For more detail of these reforms and the plethora of other significant planned reforms to employment law, please see our alert entitled 'Employment law reform jigsaw update: more pieces emerge as two major Bills receive royal assent'.

For a one page summary of the key employment law reforms and expected implementation dates, please see our updated 'Employment law reform snapshot'.