From the 29th July 2013, the Employment Tribunal will now charge for starting a claim or applying to appeal a decision made in a case.
In addition to this, hearing fees and other application fees, similar to those already charged in the Courts of England and Wales will now be payable at certain stages of the claim.
The level of those fees will depend on which category the case falls in to: Type A or Type B. In recognition that there may be more than one claimant pursuing a claim against a former employer, there are also fees for group claims, the level of which depends on the number of participants.
The unsuccessful party may be ordered to reimburse the fees paid by the successful party. However, unless exceptional circumstances apply, each party to the proceedings will remain responsible for the cost of their own legal representation.
The Employment Tribunal is presently funded by the taxpayer: the introduction of fees in the Employment Tribunal is an attempt to ensure that those using the service are the ones paying for it. However, it is quite possible that those who do unexpectedly find themselves unemployed, potentially in unfair circumstances, may not be able to afford to start a claim for redress.
There is presently a Fee Remission Scheme which applies to the civil courts in England and Wales: it is presumed a person is able to pay unless they demonstrate that they are unable to do so, by way of an application through the remissions scheme. This Scheme will be extended to the Employment Tribunal at the same time the fees are introduced.
Even with the Fee Remission Scheme there is a very real possibility that claims started in the Employment Tribunal will reduce as a result of the introduction of fees. However, employers should not see this as a reason to neglect the attention to detail required when dealing with matters of a disciplinary nature and/or grievances raised by employees. Getting it wrong may become more expensive with the prospect of having to repay the Tribunal fees as well as any award made to the aggrieved employee.
For more information on this article please contact Frances Woods on 01905 721600 or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Frances Woods - Solicitor Litigation