Employment tribunal fees to be introduced in England on 29 July 2013

Article by PINI FRANCO LLP

Categories: Employment Law
Typology: Articles

A draft statutory instrument to implement the new fees regime was laid before Parliament in April 2013. HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has published a letter to stakeholders, confirming that the implementation date for fees in the Employment tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal will be Monday 29 July 2013. The letter states that from this date, all employment claims and appeals will be required to ‘pay a fee or provide an application for fee remission against that fee’ under the HMCTS remissions scheme.

The ‘dear stakeholder’ letter has clarified that in relation to the Employment Appeal Tribunal, it will be a requirement that fees are paid on filing an appeal and also in advance of the oral hearing. Any failure to make payment or prove eligibility for remission will result in the discontinuation of the appeal.

There will be two types of fees:
Level One fees will be for straightforward claims such as notice or holiday pay claims. It will cost £160 to issue the claim and £230 to proceed to a trial hearing.

Level Two fees will be for more complex or lengthy claims such as those involving discrimination or dismissal. It will cost £250 to issue the claim and £950 to proceed to a trial hearing.

The stated aim of the fee introduction is to transfer the cost of operating the employment tribunals and Employment Appeal Tribunal from the taxpayer to the actual users of employment tribunals. But those who cannot afford to pay the fees can apply for a refund.

Ability to pay the fees

The Ministry of Justice stated that ‘As a general rule, everyone is deemed to be able to pay unless they demonstrate (by way of application through court remissions scheme), that they are unable to do so’. Therefore the new scheme is designed to require tribunal users to pay fees if they are able to afford to do so.
If they are unable to do so then there is a provision for a refund for those tribunal users.

The assessment of a person’s ability to pay will be conducted using a remissions scheme. The government recently consulted on the remissions scheme proposing a two stage test based on the disposable and monthly income of the claimant. It aims to implement the new scheme in October 2013.

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