A public consultation on the introduction of fees in the Employment Tribunal (ET) and Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) has been opened by the Ministry of Justice.
The Ministry of Justice’s proposed introduction of a £55 fee in the ET and EAT is intended to accomplish the following, among other things:
- To relieve some of the cost to the general taxpayer by requiring tribunal users to pay for the tribunal system, where they can afford to do so.
- To incentivise parties to settle their disputes early through ACAS without the need for claims to be brought to an ET
- To create better engagement by parties in ACAS early conciliation so as to add value for taxpayer money that is spent on providing this free service
- To alleviate some of the pressures the ET are currently facing.
It has been proposed that the fee (which will be payable on issuing the claim) being set at £55 should be moderately affordable for most.
More details can be found here:
Employment Tribunal fees were abolished in 2017 following a case bought by Unison against the government. The Supreme Court ruled in their favour and ruling that it was unlawful on the grounds of access to justice. The case (and subsequent abolition of fees) saw a spike in case being presented at the Tribunals. This has continued to rise steadily over the years with some arguing the lack of fees encourages speculative or weaker cases being presented.
Of course, with a potential change in government things may well change again. In addition, there is nothing stopping a further challenge in the Courts if fees were re-introduced. For now however, the more that have their say the better.
Do you agree with the re-introduction of fees? Let us know your thoughts! The government are now consulting on whether to re-introduce the fees and inviting responses.