The return of Employment Tribunal fees?
The Government has published consultation on the proposal to re-introduce fees for issuing claims in the Employment Tribunal or to start an appeal in the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT).
In 2013, a fees regime was introduced under which an individual was required to pay a fee when issuing a claim in the Employment Tribunal and a further fee when the matter was listed for hearing. The amount of the fees varied depending on the type of claim, but could total up to £1,200 in certain claims, including discrimination claims.
There was a dramatic drop in the number of claims issued in the Employment Tribunal after the fee regime was introduced. In July 2017, the Supreme Court held that the Employment Tribunal fees and EAT fees were unlawful because they had the effect of preventing access to the Tribunal system. The Government subsequently stated its intention to reimburse parties who had paid a fee. There is currently no fee for issuing a claim in the Employment Tribunal or starting an appeal in the EAT.
New fee regime
The Government has now issued consultation on re-introducing fees in the Employment Tribunal and EAT. The proposal is to introduce a one-off fee of £55, payable by an individual when bringing a claim in the Tribunal or starting an appeal in the EAT.
The consultation document states that the proposed fee:
- will relieve some of the cost to the taxpayer of the Tribunal system,
- may incentivise parties to settle disputes early via ACAS,
- is consistent with approach in other courts and tribunals,
- will help to generate resources. The Government estimates that the fee system will generate £0.6 – £0.7 million in 2024/5 and £1.3m-£1.7 million from 2025/6 onwards.
There will be a system of remission from fees for those who cannot afford them, and limited claims will be exempt.
The consultation document notes that part of the rationale for the level of fee proposed is affordability. It considers that the proposal sets the fee at a level that individuals can be reasonably expected to meet, as £55 is generally affordable.
It is proposed that the new fee system will be implemented in November 2024. Consultation closes on 25 March 2024.
12 February 2024
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