The ministry of justice (MoJ) has now published its Post Implementation Review into Employment Tribunal fees.
Despite there having been a substantial reduction in claims since the fees were introduced, the review has concluded that the regime is working well and that it is meeting its original objectives. It recognises that the fees may have discouraged many individuals from bringing claims, but it does not consider that they have been prevented from doing so.
The MoJ confirmed that it does not consider the fees to be discriminatory against any protected characteristic, or a breach of the public sector equality duty. To the extent that the fees are capable of indirectly discriminating against individuals, it confirmed that any detriment caused can be justified due to the benefit gained by transferring some of the costs of tribunals to users, and in promoting conciliation as an alternative means of resolving workplace disputes.
The MoJ does, however, concede that the drop off in claims requires some degree of action, and it has decided that certain claims under the national insurance fund will be exempt from fees with immediate effect. It also plans to consult on proposals to widen access to the Help with Fees (Fee Remission) Scheme by increasing the gross monthly income threshold to a level similar to that of a full-time employee who is paid the national minimum wage. Further allowances will also be considered for those living as couples and those with children.