The Government has announced its review of employment tribunal fees, which it says will result in recommendations for any changes to fee structure and levels.
Since July 2013, workers in the UK have been charged a fee to bring a claim to an employment tribunal, with a further fee if the claim is heard and another charge if they want to appeal the decision. Employment tribunal fees vary depending on the complexity of the case.
For example, to bring a discrimination claim, workers must pay an initial fee of £250 to issue a claim and a further fee of £950 if the claim proceeds to a hearing.
Claimants can apply for remission of the whole or part of a fee if they cannot afford to pay, and tribunals can order fees to be repaid if the claim is successful.
The review of tribunal fees will look at the following:
- employment tribunal data on volume of cases, case progression and case outcomes
- research on the views of court and tribunal users
- the general trend in the number of cases appearing at employment tribunals
- any consequences arising as a result of an improved economy on the number of employees being dismissed
- to what extent weak or unmeritorious claims have been discouraged by employment tribunal fees
- if there has been any impact because of changes in employment law.
When tribunal fees were introduced, the Government’s aim was to reduce the number of frivolous claims and to help employers avoid costly legal fees handling grievances that could be dealt with away from employment tribunals.
However, employment tribunal fees have come in for heavy criticism for pricing workers who are treated unfairly out of access to justice.
The review is expected to be completed later in 2015.