The Government’s consultation on charging fees to bring and continue claims in the employment tribunal ended in March and the Government has now published its response.
From late 2013 the Government will introduce a two stage fee structure for employment tribunal claims. The first fee will be payable on issue of the claim and the second shortly before the hearing.
Those on low incomes will be excused from payment and 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.
It is proposed that there will be two levels of fee depending on the type of claim:
- Level 1 - straightforward claims for defined sums, e.g. wages claims and redundancy payments.
- Level 2 – more complex claims, e.g. unfair dismissal, discrimination and equal pay.
Claimants issuing a level 1 claim would have to pay £160 and then a further £230 at the hearing stage. Claimants issuing a level 2 claim would have to pay £250 and then a further hearing fee of £950. Multiple claims will have their own separate fee structure. At the Employment Appeal Tribunal, there would be an appeal fee of £400 and a hearing fee of £1200.
The Government’s aim in introducing these fees is said to be to encourage parties to resolve disputes without issuing a claim and to use the employment tribunals as a ‘last resort’. Some commentators have speculated however that the impact on claims is likely to depend upon the threshold of income below which fees would be remitted.