Fees in the Employment Tribunal for the first time ever

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Posted 19/06/2013

Whilst most right thinking people are considering which best seller to add to their holiday reading list, employment lawyers will be getting to grips with a brave new world of employment disputes.What’s happening?From Monday 29 July 2013, the Employment Tribunal will charge court fees to Claimants and Respondents for using its services. This will consist of two different levels of ‘issue fees’ depending on the complexity of the claims being made, plus a separate fee for having a hearing. The net effect of this is that, as a general rule, to get into a straightforward unfair dismissal hearing, it is going to cost a Claimant employee a whacking £1,200 in fees unless they qualify for exemption.This development is part of the raft of other reforms to employment law which the Coalition Government is bringing in – with the belief that such reforms will make Britain better able to compete in the global market.How have trade unions reacted?UNISON for one is extremely upset and has issued a press release this week, stating that it is applying to the High Court for Judicial Review on the basis that it believes:“Contrary to EU law, by bringing in these charges the government will make it virtually impossible for a worker to exercise their rights under employment law. The new fee regime will impose fees which will often be greater than the expected compensation, even if the claims were successful.”On this basis, the issue of the very existence of fees may remain live and kicking for some time to come. Furthermore, confusion about how and when fees should be charged (together with the consequences of a failure to do so) might not be dead and buried for a considerable period of time.For advice relating to employment law, please contact our Employment Team.Please click here to read the UNISON press release.


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