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Government publishes review into Employment Tribunal fees

Government publishes review into Employment Tribunal fees

The Government’s long-awaited review into the Employment Tribunal fees regime has been published, and fees will remain.

Employment Tribunal fees have been in place since 2013. At present, Claimants in cases involving unfair dismissal, whistleblowing and discrimination (among others) must pay £250 to issue a claim and a further £950 once the final hearing approaches. The Ministry of Justice has reported that the intake of these fees has met approximately 20% of the running costs of the Employment Tribunal system.

Despite criticism of the fee regime from a number of sources, the review states that the fee regime is working well and largely meeting its objectives (which are the generation of fee income, greater use of Acas early conciliation, and protection of access to justice).

That said, the review acknowledged that the fall in the number of Employment Tribunal claims has been greater than expected. As a result, a few tweaks to the system have been announced. For example:

  • the process of obtaining fee remission has been simplified and rebranded as ‘Help with Fees’. The Ministry of Justice has reported a “marked increase” in the number of fee remissions granted since the changes were implemented – from 15% in the quarter July to September 2013 to 29% in the quarter January to March 2016; and
  • the Government will consult on proposals to expand ‘Help with Fees’ by increasing the gross monthly income threshold necessary to qualify from £1,085 to £1,250.

On the other hand, the review rejected suggestions that the fee regime is either indirectly or directly discriminatory.

Review of the introduction of fees in the Employment Tribunals: Consultation on proposals for reform

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