Fees were introduced in the employment tribunals in July this year. Today a new remissions system applies to most courts in the UK, including employment tribunals and the Employment Appeal Tribunal.
This system allows individuals (not companies) to seek remission of the fees based on two tests:
1. Their (and their partner's) disposable capital; and
2. Their (and their partner's) gross monthly income.
An individual wanting to bring an unfair dismissal claim could seek remission of the £950 hearing fee if they and their partner have under £3,000 disposable capital. Whether they receive full or partial remission depends on their (and their partner's) gross monthly income. For full remission, a single applicant with no children would need to prove gross monthly income of below £1,085. An applicant with a partner and two children would need to prove gross monthly income of below £1,735.
In many cases, particularly if the individual has received a redundancy or other termination payment, the remission system will not apply. This will leave individuals needing to find over £1,000 just to bring an unfair dismissal claim and have a hearing. UNISON has challenged the introduction of fees in the High Court saying that it stops people exercising their employment rights and denies justice to many. This is due to be heard at the end of the month.
It is too early yet to say whether the introduction of fees has caused a reduction in the number of employment tribunal claims, but we anticipate that this will be the case.