The Ministry of Justice has published the results of its consultation on the introduction of fees in employment tribunals.
To date claimants in the employment tribunal have not had to pay anything for issuing a claim (or for having it heard) but with effect from summer 2013 it is intended that this will change. The intention is that the introduction of fees will lower the cost of the employment tribunal system to the taxpayer.
The key points are as follows:-
• level 1 claims (very straightforward ones such as unlawful deductions and claims for payment in lieu of notice and redundancy pay) – will attract a £160 issue fee and £230 hearing fee;
• level 2 claims (most other claims including unfair dismissal and discrimination complaints) – will attract a £250 issue fee and £950 hearing fee; and
• at the Employment Appeal Tribunal a £400 fee for lodging the appeal will apply, in addition to a £1200 hearing fee.
Several other fees are proposed, for example £60 for an application to dismiss following settlement and £600 for judicial mediation.
People on low incomes may not be required to pay the full fees – apparently the same remission system which already exists for court users who pay fees to use the civil courts’ services will be utilised. Following this extension of the exemption system, the Government will review its use across both courts and tribunals and publish a consultation later this year.
Fees to use the employment tribunal will be payable in advance, and most types of fee will only apply to the person bringing the claim. However the tribunal will have the power to order the unsuccessful party to reimburse the fee to the successful party. In practice, cases are often settled rather than there being a clear ‘winner’ or ‘loser’ and the issue of reimbursement would form part of the settlement terms agreed between the parties.