Implementation of Employment Tribunal Fees

Implementation of Employment Tribunal Fees

HM Courts and Tribunal Service have announced this morning that the date for the implementation of fees in the Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeals Tribunal will be 29th July 2013.
After this date all claims in the Employment Tribunal and appeals to the Employment Appeals Tribunal will be subjected to fees in accordance with the Fees Order or will be required to provide an application for fee remission against the fees under the HM Courts and Tribunals Service fee remission scheme.
People will ask whether the introduction of Tribunal fees is necessary or whether this is simply a way to discourage Claimant’s from seeking access to justice. The Government informs us that this is a way to take the burden of paying for the Tribunal service away from the tax payer. In theory the service would be paid for by those who actually use it. However it is difficult to ignore the stark reality that potential Claimants who do not have legal expenses insurance and who are not members of Trade Unions will be less inclined to bring their claims simply because they cannot afford the cost.
It is easy to see how some unscrupulous employers could use this as a way to treat employees unfairly in the knowledge that certain employees will not be able to pay to assert their rights. The Employment Tribunal has always been easily accessible to those who have needed it. However this access will now be conditional on an employee’s ability to pay usually at a time when their financial resources are pushed to the limit following the termination of their employment.
It may be possible to apply for remission of these fees in certain circumstances. However the requirements to qualify for fee remission have become fairly strict and unfortunately most will find that they cannot satisfy the income or capital requirements.
It will be interesting to see how the fees will affect the number and the type of claims submitted in the Employment Tribunal in the coming years.
Author: Anthony Fox

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