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Employment tribunal fees: what’s the latest?

In 2012, officials indicated that they were looking to receive at least £10m a year in employment tribunal fees. However, the recent HM Courts and Tribunal Service annual report indicates net fee income of just under £4.5m in the first 8 months of the fee regime i.e. about £6.7m over a full year (approximately two-thirds of the original estimate).

No doubt this figure will be factored into the government’s forthcoming review into the impact of tribunal fees. However, recent indications are that the government is broadly happy with the system, with BIS minister Matthew Hancock stating that the government’s “tribunal reforms are working”, noting in particular the significant drop in the number of tribunal claims. No date has been set for the review, although the Ministry of Justice advised in late June that it was finalising arrangements for its timing and scope.

In the meantime, Unison’s appeal against its unsuccessful challenge to the introduction of tribunal fees is due to be heard by the Court of Appeal. Unison is arguing that the fees make it virtually impossible, or excessively difficult for claimants to bring tribunal claims to enforce their employment rights. We will report on any developments.

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