In the week of the General Election we put Employment Tribunal (“ET”) fees under the spotlight.
ET Fees were introduced in July 2013 and remain controversial. The fee structure distinguishes between single and group claimants and the different types of claim which can be issued. By way of illustration:
- A single claimant making a “type A” claim (eg. statutory redundancy payment / unlawful deduction of wages) would usually pay an issue fee of £160 and a hearing fee of £230.
- A single claimant making a “type B” claim (eg. unfair dismissal / discrimination) would usually pay an issue fee of £250 and a hearing fee of £950.
Fee remission (full or partial) is available if an applicant passes both a “disposable capital test” and a “gross monthly income test”, with online HM Courts & Tribunals Service guidance being available at http://bit.ly/2s0QHGg.
Those in favour of ET fees might say they discourage weak, nuisance or vexatious claims which would otherwise undermine businesses. They might also say the justice system is not cheap to run and employees should pay their fair share in the same way that claimants in other civil disputes do. Those against might point to a letter from the Law Society in 2015 which concluded that ET fees have harmed access to justice with many people not being able to enforce their employment rights. The Law Society also argued that discouraging valid claims puts well-run businesses at a competitive disadvantage compared to a minority who take a “less careful” approach to employment law.
The Labour, Liberal Democrat and SNP election manifestos all call for ET fees in England & Wales to be abolished. Despite abolition being seen as a vote winner by all the other parties, the Conservative manifesto is silent on ET fees. This silence is deafening. If the polls are to be believed then on election day the future of ET fees looks to remain strong & stable.
For more information please do not hesitate to contact our experienced Employment team for a free and confidential discussion on 01924 387 110.