The Government have now confirmed that there will be a charging fee for bringing an employment tribunal claim. The claimant will have to pay an initial fee to issue a claim and then pay a further fee if the claim proceeds to a hearing. These fees will be introduced in summer 2013.
The aims of the fee system are to ensure that people using employment tribunals contribute to the cost of running the system, where they can afford to do so, rather than the full cost being met by the taxpayer. A further aim is to encourage people to look for alternatives, such as mediation, before going to the employment tribunal, thereby reducing the already overloaded workload of Employment Tribunal Offices.
There will be two levels of claim:
- For level 1 claims, the issue fee is £160 and the hearing fee is £230.
- For level 2 claims, the issue fee is £250 and the hearing fee is £950.
Whether a claim attracts level 1 fees or level 2 fees will depend on the type of claim. Level 2 claims are those that which are likely to be more complex and because of this will naturally take more time to determine an outcome. Level 1 will include claims for unlawful deduction from wages, holiday pay, and redundancy payment claims. Examples of Level 2 claims include discrimination, equal pay and unfair dismissal.
For claims appealed and therefore submitted to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT), the issue fee will be £400 and the hearing fee will be £1,200. There is only one level of fee regardless of the type of claim or number of claimants.
The current remission system that is used in the civil courts, under which fees can be waived if the party cannot afford to pay, will be extended to employment tribunals and the EAT. Therefore the fees may not apply to all cases.