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Employment Tribunal Fees due to be introduced in 2013

At the end of last week the Ministry of Justice published the response paper to its consultation on the introduction of Employment Tribunal fees and announced that it is intended to introduce Tribunal fees in summer 2013.

Currently no fees are payable by those wishing to bring a claim and the cost of the service is wholly funded by the taxpayer. The rationale behind the introduction of fees is (i) to try and reduce the financial burden on the taxpayer by shifting part of the cost of Employment Tribunals to the users; and (ii) to encourage alternative methods of dispute resolution such as mediation. Originally, the Ministry of Justice’s position was that introducing fees would help business by reducing the number of weak claims that they faced – there is no reference to that original aim in the consultation response.

The key fee proposals are as follows:

  • Level 1 claims (for more straightforward issues such as unlawful deduction from wages claims) – £160 issue fee; £230 hearing fee
  • Level 2 claims (including those relating to unfair dismissal, discrimination complaints or equal pay claims) –  £250 issue fee; £950 hearing fee
  • Employment Appeal Tribunal – £400 appeal fee; £1,200 hearing fee
  • Other fees e.g. £60 for an application to dismiss following settlement; £600 for judicial mediation

The fee structure proposal is contained in more detail in the Ministry response which can be accessed here.

It is reported that there will be some system in place which means that people on low incomes may not be required to pay the full fee rates, although the final rules are still to be determined and it is likely that the fee structure will be tinkered with once it becomes operational.

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