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Employment Tribunal fees.

30th April 2013

The Government has laid before Parliament the draft order setting out the provisions on the payment of fees in the Employment Tribunals.

The proposals  appear to keep the requirement of two fees being paid in each standard case, ie at the commencement and an additional payment on requesting a hearing date for the claim. The proposals also indicate that if the fees are not paid the case will not be able to proceed.

Only cases commenced on or after the date of the implementation of the rules will attract fees in the Employment Tribunal or Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT).So any case that is already in the Tribunal system on the implementation date will not be affected. The Government has scheduled the introduction of the fees for the end of July 2013.

The Employment Tribunal and EAT rules will be amended to enable the Tribunals to order that an unsuccessful party in the case reimburse the fees paid by the successful party.

Different types of claims have been allocated a "level" for the purpose of determining the relevant fees to be paid. "Level 1" claims will include claims such as those relating to unlawful deductions from wages. "Level 2" claims will include unfair dismissal claims.

For single claims at Level 1 there will be an issuing fee of £160 and a hearing fee of £230. Level 2 claims will involve an issuing fee of £250, plus a hearing fee of £950. There are other fees for other applications once the claim has been started, such as to issue a counterclaim in a breach of contract claim.

For cases to go to the EAT there will be an issuing fee of £400 and a further fee for a hearing, in the sum of £1,200. If a party fails to pay the fee the appeal will be discontinued.

It is likely that there will be a modest rush of claims filed in the Tribunals before the introduction of the fees. However, we do anticipate that the introduction of fees is likely to reduce the number of cases going to the Tribunals. However, we d not think it will actually deter the "vexatious" or "frivolous" claims that the media often refer to. In our experience very few individuals ever believe that their claims are frivolous or vexatious , even if they have in truth got little chance of success. It is also our view that the introduction of fees will make the journey towards settlement harder than it is now, as no claimant is going to be prepared to settle for a sum less than the fees that they have incurred (plus something extra).

Do not hesitate to contact us at Hallett Employment Law Services Ltd if you need any advice or help with any of the issues raised in this article.

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