McHale & Co. Solicitors Blog

Proposals on Employment Tribunals Fees Confirmed

In 2010/2011, Employment Tribunal claims were said to have cost the tax payer £84.2million. In line with the coalition government’s plans to reduce the cost to the tax payer and encourage early resolution of disputes in the work place whilst protecting the vulnerable, The Ministry of Justice has recently closed a Consultation on a proposal to charge fees in Employment Tribunal cases.

As it stands, there are no “Court fees” required in order to issue an Employment Tribunal claim (hereafter ‘ET’). A claimant’s case must simply be funded like any other and in most cases this involves paying a legal representative to act on their behalf (unless of course they are eligible for Legal Aid or public funding).

The new proposals have now been confirmed and will be in force from summer 2013. There will be a two-stage process, whereby an initial fee is paid to issue the claim and a further fee then paid to proceed to a full hearing. “Stage One” will include the more straightforward claims and “Stage Two” will include claims such as discrimination, unfair dismissal and equal pay. Let us not forget that these fees of course, would be additional to those charged by the claimant’s legal representative. For Stage One claims, the issue fee will be £160.00 and the hearing fee £230.00. For Stage Two claims, the issue fee will be £250.00 and the hearing fee £950.00. Depending upon the number of claimants (2-10, 11-200 and over 200) the fees will be twice, four times and six times (respectively) the single claim fees.

These fees bring Employment Tribunal cases a little more in line with cases in the civil and family courts, which also carry issue fees and hearing fees. Why not? The concern here is whether these changes will protect the vulnerable or preclude them from seeking justice because they simply cannot afford it. This is about striking a balance between preventing unmeritorious claims being issued and protecting the vulnerable and lower paid workers.


Categories: Employment Law
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