In October the Government launched the initial phase of its tribunal fees refund scheme. It has now rolled out the scheme in full, and anyone eligible for a refund can now apply.
The purpose of the scheme is to refund claimants and respondents who paid a fee at an employment tribunal or the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) between 29 July 2013 and 26 July 2017. The scheme also covers those who were ordered to reimburse their opponent for a fee incurred in the proceedings. The Government has estimated that the total cost of refunding fees, including interest, will be £33 million.
What does this mean for employers?
As an employer you are eligible to seek a refund if:
you paid a fee to an employment tribunal (e.g. for judicial mediation, to bring a counterclaim etc.) and you have not been reimbursed by anyone pursuant to a tribunal Order;
your representative paid a fee and you reimbursed them;
you paid a fee to the EAT (whether as an appellant or a respondent to the appeal); or
you were ordered by a tribunal to reimburse a claimant for the tribunal fee s/he incurred in bringing proceedings against you, and you made that payment. In these circumstances you must provide a copy of any relevant Order of the tribunal, together with evidence that you did in fact reimburse the claimant (e.g. copy of receipt, bank statement, etc.) when submitting your application.
If, as an employer, you reimbursed the claimant's fees as part of a COT3 or settlement agreement then on the face of it you are not eligible to obtain a refund under the scheme. However, if, which would be unusual, the settlement or COT3 agreement clearly set out that you have reimbursed the claimant for the specific amount of fees paid, (i.e. it was not just one of the elements taken into account in a larger lump sum figure), it may be worth making a speculative application for a refund.
Successful applicants will obtain a full refund of any fees paid, plus interest of 0.5%.
How to apply:
As a respondent you cannot complete the process online - you will need to apply by completing Form 2-R and returning it by post or email. The form is available online here.
As the form makes it clear that payments can only be made into the accounts of actual parties to tribunal proceedings, we are not able make claims to recover fees on our clients’ behalf. We can, of course, assist with the process and give you details from your litigation file.