In the past week the Ministry of Justice published its plans for the introduction of fees in employment tribunals. It is currently planned that these fees will be introduced in the summer of 2013.
Currently bringing a claim to the employment tribunal is free of charge and the costs are met by the taxpayer (to the tune of around £84 million per annum). The Ministry of Justice is now proposing that some of this cost should be met by those actually using the system.
Fees will be charged in two main stages, at the issue of a claim and then for a hearing if necessary. It should be noted that the Ministry of Justice has provided that the remission system in place in the civil courts will be used and as such those on low incomes can be excused full or part of the proposed payments.
There will be two levels of fee at the employment tribunal stage:
Level 1 – this is for more straightforward claims, generally for sums due on the termination of an employment contract (such as unpaid wages, payment in lieu of notice and redundancy payments etc); and
Level 2 – this is for more complex claims, such as those for Unfair Dismissal or Discrimination.
It is currently proposed that the Level 1 fee to issue a claim would be £160, and the hearing fee would be £230. Level 2 claims would cost £250 to issue with a £950 hearing fee. There would also be additional costs to bring an appeal, and for claims involving multiple claimants. It is proposed that the employment tribunal would have the discretion to order an unsuccessful party in any claim to reimburse the costs incurred in tribunal fees to the successful party.
The Ministry of Justice maintains that the fees should be tailored to encourage businesses and workers to mediate or settle a dispute, rather than go to full hearing. As such the services of the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) shall continue to be free of charge.
For more information, please contact Francesca.email@example.com