31 May 2013: Many employers will be encouraged by the announcement that from Monday 29 July 2013, Claimants will have to pay a fee to submit a claim in the Employment Tribunal.
Fees will be a £250 issue fee, and a £950 hearing fee, for most types of claim including unfair dismissal, discrimination and whistleblowing. Fees for straightforward claims including unlawful deductions and statutory redundancy payments will be £160 to issue and £230 for the hearing itself. Claims can be struck out if the fee is not paid. Presumably, if the Claimant wins, those fees can be claimed back from the Respondent.
Tactically, these changes may result in many employers being more reluctant to settle either a) before the issue of proceedings or b) until after the Claimant has paid the hearing fee, which will be quite substantial for many claimants.
Strangely, the Draft regulations state that if a case is referred to Judicial Mediation, the Respondent (ie the employer) has to pay a £600 fee.
On the other hand, Claimant’s will be able to claim a remission from those fees, which is likely to apply anyone who is out of work (which will be quite a large number) or on a low income. Details of the remissions system have yet to be confirmed.
Although the imposition of fees will undoubtedly make many Claimant’s think twice before bringing a claim, it remains to be seen whether it reduces the number of claims brought overall.