26 July 2013: There are several changes coming in to effect from the 29th July 2013. The main ones are:
Fees to bring claims:
Claimants will have to pay a fee (normally £250) to submit a Tribunal claim and a fee to get the matter listed for hearing (normally £950). Complicated rules for claiming remission from those fees will apply. If the Claimant wins, the Judge will normally order that the Respondent repay those fees. Employers will have to pay a £160 to make a counter claim and £600 fee to refer the matter to judicial mediation.
Employers will hope that this will discourage shoot from the hip Claimants who issue weak claims in the hope of a quick settlement. Of the claims that are issued, some employers may be reluctant to negotiate until the £950 set down fee is paid by the Claimant.
Claimants can submit a Form ET1 online to the Employment Tribunal via: https://www.employmenttribunals.service.gov.uk/employment-tribunals
Cap to compensatory awards in unfair dismissal claims:
There will be a cap of the lesser of 52 weeks’ pay or £74,200 on compensatory awards in unfair dismissal claims.
Settlement Agreements and Discussions:
Compromise Agreements will be known as ‘Settlement Agreements’. Most offers made, or discussions held, with a view to terminating an employee’s contract on agreed terms, will not be admissible as evidence to a tribunal in an unfair dismissal claim.
What is currently regarded as ‘unambiguous impropriety’ in ‘without prejudice’ cases will also be regarded as improper behaviour in settlement agreement discussions, including for example all forms of victimisation and harassment. Employers would still be wise not to say anything that they would be embarrassed about if it came out in a Tribunal hearing
Tribunal rules of procedure will change:
Amongst other things, there will be a new Claim Form ET1 and case management discussions and pre-hearing reviews may be combined into one preliminary hearing. In theory claims with no merit will be sifted out at an early stage. In practice that is unlikely to make much difference in the majority of cases.
Links for leaflets on the payment of Tribunal Fees: