“The Government has published detail of the radical change to the Employment Tribunals of requiring fees to be paid.
“The changes are intended to be implemented in summer 2013. The press release makes it clear that the purpose of introducing fees is to lower the cost of the employment tribunal system to the taxpayer – and the MoJ abandons the previous rationale that it was about reducing the number of weak claims to help business.
Here are the key points:-
- level 1 claims (the very straightforward ones such as unlawful deductions – there is a very long list in the Response Document) – £160 issue fee; £230 hearing fee
- level 2 claims (pretty much everything else) – £250 issue fee; £950 hearing fee
- Employment Appeal Tribunal – £400 appeal fee; £1,200 hearing fee
- there are several other fees, eg £60 for an application to dismiss following settlement and £600 for judicial mediation
“The response paper states, quite openly, that these fees do not cover the actual cost of running the employment tribunal system and the government is committed to reviewing the fee structure once it is implemented. “Reviewing” may be a euphemism for “increasing”.
“There is also a complete re write of the Employment Tribunal rulebook, and when that comes in (perhaps about the same time) all new claims will go through a “sift” process undertaken by an Employment Judge. Weak claims will be thrown out at that stage.
“The combination of these two things ought to mean that the number of claims plummets, leaving only very big claims worth that sort of fee, and those who have legal expenses insurance. Good news for employers, as someone who has just lost a job may not have that sort of money to hand, or may have more pressing uses for it if they have. It is a long way from the rationale of the Employment Tribunals from inception until now. For problematic cases, employers may find that early discussion about a compromise agreement may afford a swift and attractive way out for ex employees.
“(I gratefully acknowledge the detail of the fees and comment contained in a note on the subject prepared by Daniel Barnett, barrister of Outer Temple Chambers)”
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