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Introduction of fees in the Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal

 

The Government has published its response to the consultation on charging fees in Employment Tribunals (ET) and the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT). The response sets out the Government's intention to introduce fees in the summer of 2013. Guidance on the new fee system will also be issued.

For the first time, fees will be charged to parties to ET and EAT proceedings.  The Government's view is that the introduction of fees will encourage parties to think through whether litigation is the best way forward or whether alternative methods of dispute resolution are preferable.  The aim is to ensure that tribunals are used as the option of "last resort" to resolve employment disputes.  In the ET, the proposed fee structure envisages two levels of fees depending on the nature of the claim:

 

·         "Level 1" claims will generally be simpler claims for sums due on termination of employment e.g. unpaid wages, payments in lieu of notice, redundancy payments.

·         "Level 2" claims will be more complex claims, including unfair dismissal, discrimination and equal pay.

 

A draft schedule of the fee levels to which various ET claims are allocated is set out at Annex C to the Response.

 

Claimants will have to pay a fee upon issuing a claim and a further fee prior to the hearing taking place.  Additional fees may be payable by either party in respect of other matters, such as certain applications to the ET.  The full proposed ET fee structure is set out below.

 

 

Who pays?

Level 1 Claims

Level 2 Claims

Issue Fee

Claimant

£160

£250

Hearing Fee

Claimant

£230

£950

Review of Default Judgment

Respondent

£100

£100

Application to dismiss following settlement

Respondent

£60

£60

Judicial mediation

Respondent

-

£600

Counter-claim

Respondent

£160

-

Application for review

Party who applies

£100

£350

 

A higher fee structure will operate where there are multiple claimants: in claims involving 2 – 10 claimants, the fee will be twice the ordinary fee; in claims involving 11 – 200 claimants, the fee will be four times the ordinary fee; and in claims involving 201+ claimants, the fee will be six times the ordinary fee. ETs will also be given a discretionary power to order a losing party to pay any fees incurred by the successful party.

 

In the EAT, a single fee structure is proposed: appellants will pay an issue fee of £400 and a hearing fee of £1,200.

 

The fee remission system, which currently operates in the civil courts, will be extended to the ET and the EAT, so that those on low incomes will not have to pay the fees.  The Ministry of Justice plan to publish a wider consultation on fee remissions in Autumn 2012.

                                                                                                                                   

Comment

 

As with the recent review of the Employment Tribunal Rules of Procedure, the proposals on introducing fees are welcome, however, there is still some way to go before the new regime comes into force.  The Government has indicated that they aim to introduce fees in the summer of 2013.  Prior to this, a consultation on remissions must be conducted and concluded, a system of fee payment and collection must be developed, guidance on the new fee system needs to be prepared and the draft bill introducing the fee system needs to make its passage through Parliament.

 

Response to the Consultation on Charging Fees in Employment Tribunals and the Employment Appeal Tribunal

 

 
 
 
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