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Government consults on employment tribunal fees

Plans to lower the £84 million cost to the taxpayer, and relieve pressure on businesses, through the introduction of fees for employment tribunals have been announced by Justice Minister Jonathan Djanogly.

 

The consultation will put forward two options for consideration:

 

  • pption 1: an initial fee of between £150-£250 for a claimant to begin a claim, with an additional fee of between £250-£1250 if the claim goes to a hearing, with no limit to the maximum award; or
  • option 2: a single fee of between £200-£600 – but this would limit the maximum award to £30,000 – with the option of an additional fee of £1,750 for those who seek awards above this amount.

 

In both options the tribunal would be given the power to order the unsuccessful party to reimburse fees paid by the successful party.

 

Many applications do not result in a full hearing or are settled out of court. Both parties spend time and money preparing for formal legal proceedings when around 80% of applications made do not result in a full hearing.

 

There were 218,100 claims to Employment Tribunals in 2010-11, a 44% increase on 2008-09. The cost to the taxpayer rose from £77.8m to £84m over the same period.

 

Introducing fees will bring employment tribunals into line with civil courts where claimants already pay a fee to use the service. Just like in civil courts the Government will also continue to fund a system of fee waivers for those who cannot afford to pay.

 

The Government will continue to fund the cost of ACAS, which helps people in employment disputes reach agreement without the need for legal proceedings, and is free to users.

 

The consultation will close in March 2012, with a view to introduce the fees not before 2013-14.

 

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