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05th August 2012

The Government's response to consultation on tribunal fees is released

Earlier this year in our feature “Consultation on Tribunal Fees Launched” we discussed the Government’s consultation to the introduction of fees in the Employment Tribunals. This consultation closed in March this year, and on 13 July the Government published its response.

The Government’s initial consultation looked at two potential options for the charging of fees in the Employment Tribunals. The Government’s response has confirmed that it shall be going forward with the first option, being a structure based on two fees being payable, with the level of fee being dependent on the nature of the claim being pursued.

The fee structure will require that, on the issue of a claim the claimant will be required to pay the first fee (an issue fee) and then, if the claim proceeds to a full tribunal hearing, a second fee shall be payable (a hearing fee).

The level of the fee will depend on the nature of the claim being pursued and claims have been separated into two levels. Level 1 will be the more straightforward claims, for example, claims for unpaid wages, redundancy payments and payments in lieu of notice. Level 2 will be all other claims, including unfair dismissal, discrimination, equal pay and whistleblowing claims.

Where a claimant brings a claim under Level 1 they shall need to pay an issue fee of £160 and, if the matter goes to a full hearing, a hearing fee of £230. For Level 2 claims a fee of £250 shall be payable on issue with £950 being payable if the matter goes to a full hearing.

Where more than one claimant is bringing the same claim, the Level 1 and Level 2 categories still apply, but the fee payable shall vary depending on the number of claimants. Where there are between two and ten claimants the issue fee shall be the fees for a single claim multiplied by two (for example, under Level 1, a £320 issue fee and £460 hearing fee). If there are 11 to 20 claimants the fees shall be the single claim fees multiplied by four and for 201 employees or more the single claim fees multiplied by six.

Fees in the Employment Appeal Tribunal shall follow the same structure as that for the Employment Tribunals but the level of fee will not differ depending on the claim being appealed. The fees in the EAT shall therefore be £400 to issue an appeal and £1,200 to proceed to a full hearing.

There will be no exemptions to the requirement to pay the tribunal fees. However in an attempt to protect access to justice for claimants who cannot afford to pay the fees, the current HMCTS civil courts remissions system will be also be made available in the Employment Tribunals.

The Government hopes to implement the new fee structure in the summer of 2013 and in the meantime shall be working to develop the necessary procedures and guidance to put the proposals into place. For further information please contact Gemma Burnham on 01604 233233 or on gemmaburnham@hewitsons.com

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