Will Employment Tribunal Fees Be Reintroduced?

The Ministry of Justice has confirmed that it may reintroduce Employment Tribunal fees, although it has said there are no firm plans as yet.

When Employment Tribunal fees were introduced in July 2013, there was widespread concern that they would create a barrier to justice for workers. In the vast majority of cases, the fees were set at £250 to submit a claim and £950 to have a hearing of that claim – a whopping £1,200 in total. This put the prospect of bringing a claim well out of reach for a lot of individuals.

In 2016, our Kate Booth, submitted data to the Justice Committee’s Inquiry into Employment Tribunal fees which demonstrated that a substantial proportion of potential claimants that she had spoken to were put off bringing claims due to the level of Employment Tribunal fees. She was one of a panel of legal experts invited to give evidence to the Inquiry and confirmed her belief that the level at which the fees had been had created a barrier to justice.

In 2017, after a long battle, Unison won their legal challenge and the Supreme Court declared Employment Tribunal fees to be unlawful. Since then, the courts system has had to pay out £15.8million in refunds.
Richard Heaton, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Justice has said that he is confident that a fee system can be found that will be proportionate and ensure access to justice.

Here at New Dawn, we believe that there is an important balance to be struck between introducing a fee that requires a potential claimant to pause and consider whether they wish to continue with their claim and a fee that prevents them from pursuing their claim at all. Any fees that are introduced need to take into account average earnings and disposable income of workers in the UK to ensure that they are affordable for all and any means tested support needs to be easy to understand and access.

We’ll update you when we find out more!

And in the meantime, if you have any questions about defending your business against a claim, call New Dawn Resources on 01484 680098 or contact us via the website and we’ll be happy to help.