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Consultation on charging fees in the employment tribunal

The Ministry of Justice has published its response to the consultation on charging fees to bring and continue claims in the employment tribunal. The response sets out that the Government intends to introduce fees in the second half of 2013.

Fees will be charged in two stages; the first at the issue of the claim, and the second prior to the hearing. There will still be provisions in place for low income families to be excused from the fees; these provisions will be very similar to the current county court system. Also tribunals will be given a discretionary power to order the losing party to pay any costs of the successful party incurred by way of fees.
The proposed fee structure envisages two levels of fee at the employment tribunal stage. Level 1 claims which are straightforward claims for defined sums, such as unauthorised deductions from wages and redundancy payments. Such claims would attract a fee of:

– £160 when the claim is issued and

– £230 at the hearing stage.

Level 2 claims are more complex issues, including unfair dismissal, discrimination and equal pay. Such claims attract a fee of:

– £250 when the claim is issued and

– £950 at the hearing stage. 

There is also a fee structure for multiple claims. Claims involving more than one and up to ten claimants would be charged twice the applicable fee for a single claim; those involving 11-200 claimants would be charged four times the single few; and those involving over 200 claimants six times the single fee.

At the EAT, there would be an appeal fee of £400 and a hearing fee of £1200.
The argument behind the proposals is that it would make Claimants use the tribunals as a last resort and more matters could be informally settled through mediation or conciliation. Like many of the government’s employment reforms we will have to see how (and if) the introduction of fees will decrease the number of claims lodged in tribunals!

Samira Cakali

Samira Cakali is a pragmatic and approachable solicitor advocate with extensive contentious and non-contentious experience in the fields of employment law as well as civil litigation, within a range of commercial businesses from SME’s to multinationals as well as senior executives.

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