The end of this month will see a shake-up in the UK employment tribunal service – with fees being introduced for the first time.
To date, neither party involved in a claim has had to pay any fees for using the public service of the employment tribunal.
But this is set to change from 29 July when the Employment Tribunal and the Employment Appeal Tribunals Fees Order 2013 comes into force.
Kate Hindmarch, a partner in employment law at Langleys Solicitors LLP, said:
“Employers will no doubt welcome fees as their introduction suggests that claimants will be put off from bringing low value and unmeritorious claims by virtue of the costs now associated with this.
“However employers need to be aware that claimants on low incomes or in receipt of certain benefits can apply for a remission of the fee such that it does not fall to be paid.
“It will be interesting to see how the employment tribunal service deals with the fees regime for the first time in its jurisdiction.
“There appears to be some suggestion of claimants rushing to get claims filed before the 29 July to avoid paying fees.
“Thereafter, there is speculation there may be some issues with regard to whether or not claimants have paid the appropriate fee, have failed to pay a fee when they thought they were entitled to a remission and other such disputes on the issuing and acceptance of claims by the tribunal service.”
The fees order means claimants will need to pay an issue fee of £160 or alternatively a fee of £250 depending on whether their claim is a Type A or Type B claim.
- Type A claims attract the lower fee and include relatively straightforward claims in relation to wages, time off work – for example for antenatal care or for dependant leave – and in respect of redundancy payments.
- Type B claims incur the higher fee. These include unfair dismissal and discrimination claims.
There is then a further fee which is to be paid in advance of a hearing of the matter – that is where the case has not been settled or withdrawn.
Again this falls to the claimant to pay and is in the sum of £230 for a Type A claim and £950 for a Type B claim.
And employers are not exempt from paying fees. If the parties agree to mediation rather than to a trial of their issues, the employer will be asked to pay a fee of £600.
In addition, Unison has said it will meet all fees on behalf of its members and other trade unions may follow.
Unison intends to apply to the High Court for a judicial review of the government’s decision to impose fees.
“It will be interesting to see how that review process is considered and the outcome and clients can be keep updated on this by following us @langleys HR.”