Employment Tribunal Fees
Unison have launched a further bid to get the Government to backtrack on its plans to introduce an Employment Tribunal fee structure this summer; citing the adverse impact that such a fee structure will have on lower paid workers. However, as this seems unlikely to yield any successful return for Unison (see end-note), employers and individuals should be aware of the latest draft guidance on the fee structure which has been issued by the Government and which is now subject to Parliamentary approval.
Subject to this approval being received, fees will be introduced for all claims lodged on or after 29th July 2013. The fee levels have been outlined as follows:
Fees will be paid in advance by the person presenting the claim or seeking the order
A central processing unit will be established for England & Wales and one for Scotland through which payments will be made. No payments will be accepted in person in local Tribunal Offices; but claimants will have an alternative option of making a payment on-line
There will be two different levels of fees, which will be dependent upon:
The nature of the case
The stage in the proceedings and;
In cases where there are multiple claimants, the number of claimants
Type ‘A’ Cases; those which are, by their nature, more simple to deal with e.g. unauthorised deductions, unpaid redundancy or other payments, failure to consult etc. will be subject to a fee of £160 on presentation and a further £230 if proceeding to a hearing (which must be paid prior to the date of the hearing).
Type ‘B’ cases; which will be those that are more complex to deal with e.g. unfair dismissal, discrimination claims etc. will attract a fee of £250 for presenting the case and a further £950 for the hearing
Where more than one case is presented in a single claim, only one fee will be payable and this will be set at the highest level of claim e.g. a failure to consult (type A) combined with an unfair dismissal (type B) will be charged as a ‘type B’ case
For multiple claims; i.e. more than one claimant, the fee will be set at a higher rate, but when apportioned out amongst all of the claimants, it will work out to be cheaper than for a single claimant
Cases will not be allowed to proceed until payment in full has been received
Claimants will be subject to the current time-limits for making a claim; they will not be granted extensions to enable them to raise the necessary funds to make the claim
Tribunals will be given discretionary powers to order unsuccessful parties to re-imburse fees outlaid by successful parties in the claim
A scheme will be established whereby claimants who are genuinely unable to pay will have their fees reimbursed; but this will be tested against the claimant’s disposable capital and monthly income.
In addition to the fees listed above, the following fees will also apply:
Counterclaim (for Type ‘A’ claims only and will be known as ‘Employer Contract Claim’) - £160
Judicial mediation (Type ‘B’ only) - £600
Application for a review of a default judgement - £100
Application to dismiss following settlement - £60
Application for a review of final decisions - £100 (type ‘A’) and £350 (type ‘B’)
The fees to an EAT will be set at £400 for making a claim and £1,200 for the hearing. EAT claims cannot be made online currently and so they should be submitted without the fee in the first instance and a ‘payment order’ will then be subsequently issued.
NB - People Management report this week that a leading think tank (the Institute of Economic Affairs) has called for a change in the law governing Employment Tribunals following a recent case involving Conservative MP, Richard Drax. Mr Drax was cleared of 'sexually harassing' his Housekeeper following her claim that he had invited her to join him and his wife in a 'threesome'. It emerged that his Housekeeper had prior form for inventing sexual harassment claims and the think tank believe that it is necessary to revise the law to deter such 'frivolous and vexatious claims' in the future. However, the introduction of this fee structure may also go some way to deterring such claims and we will continue to monitor and report on developments in both areas in the future.