The introduction of employment tribunal fees on 29 July 2013
has continued to be the subject of debate.
The statistics have shown, and as a firm we have noticed a large
reduction in claims being instigated by disgruntled employees.
Many have viewed the fees as a barrier to justice, whilst a
welcomed step for employers. In
September the Law Society published its discussion document: http://employmentconnect.crippslaw.com/2015/09/making-employment-tribunals-work-for-all.html
In June, the government started its review of the employment
tribunal fees and the fee remission scheme.
The written evidence submitted to the inquiry has now been published.
The President and Regional Employment Judges of the
Employment Tribunals (England and Wales) have made a number of interesting
points and believe that the fees have had a negative impact on people’s access
to justice. They have made a number of
proposals to reform the system, which include:
· a tiered system of fees using the Short Track,
Standard Track and Open Track as is currently used by the tribunal for its
caseload management. They have not made
a recommendation as to the level of fees but instead say that it is a decision
· discounted fees for online submissions, using
e-mail correspondence and making online payments. They also suggest discounted fees for having
“hearings” online or for dealing with matters without having a hearing in
· incorporating further charging points to
encourage parties to prepare for the hearing with as little intervention as
possible from the tribunal;
· a system as used in Scotland where Respondents
are liable for response and hearing fees;
· raising the remission threshold and/or discounting
the termination payments “as income or capital”;
· only having to apply for remission once, as
opposed to the current system where remission is applied for at the point the
claim is made and separately for the hearing;
· fees to be automatically repayable in a
successful claim and reimbursement on a sliding scale; and
· allowing claimants to recover their fees in
their claims against insolvent employers.
Whilst the current fee system does not appear to be working,
to introduce a fee for Respondents to pay in order to file its defence seems to
be a further penalty for the employer.
The review is expected to be completed later this year and
will be followed by a consultation on the recommendations that have been
proposed. In the meantime, it would be interesting to hear your views,
so please comment below.