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Employment Tribunal Fees Update

11th March, 2015

Since the introduction of the Employment Tribunal fees in 2013 there have been many questions asked about their fairness.  The fees have already been challenged by Unison on two separate occasions with unsuccessful outcomes. The outcomes were based on a lack of evidence and the fact that the claims of the fees being unfair were brought prematurely.  Unison has subsequently made an appeal which presently has been stayed by the court.

Since the new fees were introduced there has been a dramatic reduction in the number of claims received by the Employment Tribunal.  For the period of April to June 2014 there was a 70% reduction compared with the same period in 2013, and this number appears to be declining each quarter.

When the fees were introduced in 2013 there was a promise to review them one year later to ensure that access to justice was not being denied.  However, this review did not take place, causing upset to both employees and employers.  Even some of the employers who lobbied for the Employment Tribunal fees have made a U-turn stating that they did not expect the fees to be so high.

In more recent times, it seems that more questions are being asked regarding the overdue fee review due to take place, including questions from Jo Swinson the Employment Relations Minister.  As a result, Business Secretary Vince Cable has agreed to review the impact the fees are having on the Employment Tribunal to assess if they actually are causing a barrier to justice.  The Business Secretary has stated that he will publish his review in the forthcoming weeks.

It will be interesting to see what the report contains and if a change will be made before the forthcoming general election in May. However, it is unlikely that the review will actually implement further changes and will probably be a hot topic for discussion between the political parties during the run up to the election.

For further information and advice on changes to Employment Tribunal Fees, please contact Helen Watson on 01244 405565 or send an email to [email protected].

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