Employment Tribunal fees
From 29 July 2013 to 26 July 2017, any application you required to lodge with the Employment Tribunal could only be accepted on payment of a fee to the Tribunal.
In some cases it was possible to claim ‘remission’ from payment of the fee, for example, if you were in receipt of State Benefits. However, in most cases, the fee was payable.
Fees could be up to £1,250 and proved a strong disincentive for claims to be made to the Employment Tribunal.
In July 2017, the Supreme Court – on an application by the union, Unison – reversed the previous decisions of various lower courts and abolished Tribunal fees. There were various reasons but the “access to justice” angle was prominent.
The Government is in the process of repaying all tribunal fees received in the 3 years that fees were charged – a bill estimated to be in the region of £32 million.
Implications of abolition of tribunal fees
The evidence is that tribunal claims – which had reduced significantly in the wake of the introduction of fees – are on the rise again.
As a potential claimant, the fact that you no longer need to pay fees of up to £1,250 just for the privilege of getting a hearing for your claim is a definite encouragement to proceed.
For employers, the demise of tribunal fees means it is necessary to review your policies and procedures – and your employees’ employment contracts – to make sure that you protect your position as effectively as possible. You cannot easily prevent claims being made against you but you can make sure you have the strongest possible defence in place by things you do ahead of time, such as making sure your policies and procedures are comprehensive and up to date.
Costs / expenses awards
The basic rule remains that costs are awarded in favour of one party and against the other generally only where there has been ‘unreasonable’ behaviour by one party.
It is considered that the Judicial Mediation scheme has been very successfully rolled out. Over the 3 years from 2013 there have been 19, 27 and 56 per year respectively, with an overall 70% success rate.
If you have any queries about the new fees system in particular or an employment law issue in general, do not hesitate to contact one of our Employment team via 01343 544077. All initial enquiries are free of charge and without obligation.
Alternatively, if you prefer to make a free enquiry in writing, you can complete and send an Online Enquiry form to us..
Get in touch with us to have a chat about your options.