Employment Tribunal fees are set to be introduced on 29 July 2013. From then a Claimant wishing to submit an Employment Tribunal claim will have to pay a fee for doing so, and then pay a further fee later in the Tribunal process if they wish to proceed to a hearing.
The level of fees would depend on the type of claim, but not how much it is worth. Where there is only one Claimant, the fees are as follows:
Type A Claims
Type B Claims
Type A claims are generally for sums due on termination of employment, such as unpaid wages, notice payments and redundancy payments.
Type B claims include those relating to unfair dismissal, discrimination and whistleblowing.
Fees are also payable in some other situations (including in some cases by the Respondent), such as counterclaims (type A only) and applications for interim relief, to review an Employment Tribunal decision and set aside a default judgment.
Employment Tribunal judges will have the discretion to order the Respondent to reimburse any fees paid by a successful Claimant (and vice versa where applicable). The fee remissions scheme that currently operates in the civil courts will be extended to Employment Tribunals, and will entitle some Claimants not to pay fees.
If a party wishes to appeal an Employment Tribunal judgment, a fee of £400 is payable after submitting the appeal to the Employment Appeal Tribunal and a further fee of £1,200 is payable for a hearing.
Fee remissions for those who cannot afford fees
The Government is in the process of changing the way the fee remissions scheme works. It currently intends to bring the new system in from October 2013. Broadly, from an Employment Tribunal perspective, the proposed remission scheme would mean that for Claimants aged 60 or under, fees of up to £1,000 will be payable in full if the disposable capital of the Claimant and any partner together exceed £3,000. For those aged 61 or over, the threshold is £16,000. Disposable capital is defined in a particular way with certain types of capital included or disregarded.
Where the disposable capital does not exceed the relevant threshold, the Claimant might be entitled to a full or partial remission, depending on the combined income of themselves and any partner.
It is important to appreciate that until the new remissions scheme is ready, the existing (different) remissions scheme continues to operate.
It remains to be seen how fees will impact cases at the Employment Tribunal, however we may find that:
fewer very low value claims will be brought. Some Claimants will conclude that the fees are not worth the potential compensation at stake (even if they could recover the fee if successful)
some Claimants might think twice about bringing a claim and may take legal advice first, reducing unmeritorious claims
once the deadline for the Claimant to pay the hearing fee approaches, the Respondent may be reluctant to settle and instead "hold out" in the hope that the Claimant will not pay the hearing fee, and
once the hearing fee has been paid, low value type B claims may become more difficult to settle as Claimants seek to recover their fees as part of the settlement.
For more information please contact Christopher Bushnell, Associate