The Government has stated that it is “working towards” implementing fees in employment tribunals and the EAT at the end of July 2013. A draft fees order has been laid before Parliament including the fee levels set out in the government response to consultation (summarised here). Employers may see an increase in claims over the next couple of months by claimants wishing to avoid the fees – the transitional provisions provide that fees will only apply to claims or appeals submitted after the order comes into force.
A letter and Q&A from the Ministry of Justice explain how the rules are to work in practice. The Q&A states that tribunals are to have the power to order an unsuccessful party to reimburse the successful party’s fees (although this is not yet in the draft order).
The Government has also published a consultation paper on fee remissions for the courts and tribunals. It proposes that claimants will have to satisfy both a disposable capital test and an income test. Remission of any fee up to £1,000 will not be available to claimants with disposable capital of more than £3,000. The introduction of a disposable capital test may prevent many claimants who have recently become unemployed from claiming remission; those with savings just over the £3,000 threshold may baulk at gambling a third of their savings to bring an unfair dismissal claim.