Tribunal Fees Remission System
Whilst we wait to hear the outcome of the Judicial Review, Tribunal Fees will remain in place and alongside these, a system of ‘fee remissions’ has now been put in place and the eligibility for this clarified. This system means that those claimants who are on low incomes will either be exempt from paying the fees entirely or will only have to make a contribution towards the fees. The system will only be available to individuals and not to businesses and other organisations (which presumably means that it will not be applicable to those individuals who are being supported in their claim by Trades Unions or other bodies).
To demonstrate their eligibility for partial or full remission of Tribunal fees, individuals must pass two tests:
a disposal capital test
a gross monthly income test (which will exclude certain benefits)
In addition, the resources of a claimant’s spouse/partner will also be taken into account, unless it can be shown that they have a contrary interest in the proceedings. Applicants wishing to claim under the remission system should do so at the time that they would ordinarily make the payment of the fee for the Tribunal, although the system does incorporate a 3-month period in which retrospective claims can be submitted.
For individuals who fail to get through the two tests and who end up paying the fee, there may be provision for them to be awarded a sum to reimburse them for the fee paid if they are ultimately successful in their claim at Tribunal. A summary of the two tests is given below:
Disposable Capital Test
This includes every resource of a capital nature belonging to the claimant and their spouse/partner (if applicable) which is held by them on the date that the remission application is made unless it is either income or regarded as excluded disposable capital. Included within this category are savings, investments and redundancy payments; excluded though are any compensatory payments for unfair dismissal or personal injury.
Amounts above identified thresholds will render the individual as ineligible for a remission of fees; however, individuals will not be required to provide evidence of their disposable capital, but will instead be required to sign a ‘statement of truth’ declaration on the application. The thresholds that will be applied are:
Fees of up to £1,000 – disposable capital should not exceed £3,000
Fees between £1,001 - £4,000 – disposable capital should not exceed £8,000
Fees over £4,000 – disposable capital should not exceed £16,000
For claimants over the age of 61, there is a single threshold of £16,000 irrespective of the level of fee. Once an individual has demonstrated that they pass the disposable capital test, they will then undergo the second test...
Gross Monthly Income Test
The second of the two tests is based on the gross monthly income of the claimant and their spouse/partner (if applicable) and determines whether they are entitled to receive a full or partial remission. This test is taken from the total monthly income for the month before that in which the application for remission is made and includes all income into the household, with the exception of certain excluded benefits.
The range of gross income goes from £1,085 per month for a single person to £1,735 per month for a couple with children. The threshold is increased by £245 for each extra child, though children will only count if they live with the claimant or if the claimant is responsible for paying for their maintenance. Unlike the disposable capital test, applicants will be required to provide evidence for this test and individuals whose income exceeds the relevant threshold will pay a contribution to the relevant fee in the amount of £5 for every £10 of their income which is above the threshold.
Again, the outcome of the on-going Judicial Review will impact upon this system and we will report back as and when the outcome of that process is known.