We highlighted in a previous bulletin that the UK Government was consulting on introducing a fee system for Employment Tribunal claims.
That consultation has now concluded and the results have been published by the Ministry of Justice, which has decided to introduce the following charges:
- For straightforward claims such as unlawful deductions from wages, notice pay and redundancy payments, there will be a £160 issue fee payable by Claimants and a £230 hearing fee on top of that
- For anything other than the most straightforward claims, the fee for Claimant will be a £250 issue fee and a £950 hearing fee. This will apply for claims such as unfair dismissal, whistleblowing and discrimination
The fees payable increase on a sliding scale where multiple claims are brought, rising to a maximum fee of six times the single issue/hearing fee for claims brought on behalf of more than 200 individuals.
The fees will be payable in advance so as to minimise the administrative load on the Tribunal service and the financial burden on taxpayers – and so as to encourage people to consider other options before lodging a formal claim.
The Government's press release explains that the aims of introducing such fees is to shift some of the cost of the employment tribunal system from the taxpayer to its users and also to encourage early resolution of disputes.
No issue or hearing fees will be payable by Respondents, although the Tribunal will have the power to order the unsuccessful party to reimburse the fee to the successful party. This will not take place automatically, but will be for the Employment Judge to decide in each case.
A £600 fee will also be payable for judicial mediation - which usually lasts a day. This will be payable by the employer. ACAS conciliation, however, will remain free.
Later this year, the Government will publish a consultation on the use of a remission system for people on low incomes, as already in operation in the civil courts. This would exempt people below a certain income threshold from paying fees, or reduce the amount of the fees payable.
The Government intends to put into effect the new fee structure next summer.