The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has announced it is to review Employment Tribunal fees, to determine whether they have been a success.
What were the fees?
The fees were introduced in 2013 and require a claimant to pay a fee to issue the claim and a further fee to claim the proceeds.
The reasons for introducing the fees included relieving the taxpayer of the burden of the tribunal system by having the claimant help towards the costs, and also to encourage alternative solutions such as settlements and mediation.
Currently, these fees are:
|Type of case||Claim fee||Hearing fee|
|Breach of contract||£160||£230|
What will be reviewed?
The review will be to establish if the goals of the fee introductions 2 years ago have covered 3 areas:
- financial – relieving some of the cost of tribunals from the taxpayer
- behavioural – encouraging alternative methods of resolving disputes (i.e. settlements and mediation)
- justice – ensuring access to justice is still available.
To do this, the MoJ have said they will look at:
- whether there has been a rise in alternative dispute resolution methods, e.g. using ACAS’s conciliation services
- whether the number of claims to the Employment Tribunal and EAT have changed since the fees were introduced
- whether the ‘quality’ of claims has changed (i.e. how many applications have been refused and granted since the introduction of fees?)
- whether the introduction of the fees has entailed a cost, from both setting it up and running costs
- data on the characteristics of those using the Employment Tribunal and EAT, especially those with ‘protected’ characteristics.
How could this affect you?
Currently, the MoJ are just reviewing the impact of the fee introduction, so we still have a bit of a wait before we hear of any changes.
We’ve already heard from TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady who called the introduction of the fees; “a gift for Britain’s worst bosses allowing many to flout the law”.
What do you think?
Are you for or against tribunal fees?
Have they helped or hurt your or your business?
What do you think the MoJ’s report will find?
We’re eager to hear!