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The Government has announced that a claim to Employment Tribunal would attract fees up to £1,200.

Date: (17 July 2012)    |    

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As a part of the Government’s Employment Law Review and following the Ministry of Justice’s consultation with businesses and the public, some of the fees to be charged would be lower than initially proposed.
Under the plans, from summer 2013, mediation by a judge is to cost £600 rather than the £750 proposed in the 2011 consultation. The lower fee to take the administratively simpler 'level 1' claims to a full hearing will be £390, which would be only £160 if settled before the hearing fee is payable.
Justice Minister, Jonathan Djanogly, said that it was not fair on the taxpayer to foot the entire £84m bill for people to escalate workplace disputes to a Tribunal.
The people should pay a fair contribution where they can, for using the services provided by the system, which will encourage them to look for alternatives.
To discourage long drawn out disputes which emotionally damage workers and financially damage businesses the government was trying to encourage a quicker, simpler and cheaper alternatives like mediation which was in everyone’s interest he added.
Fees to use the Employment Tribunal shall be payable in advance, and most types of fee would only apply to the person bringing the claim. However the Tribunal will have the power to order the unsuccessful party to reimburse the fee to the successful party. In practice, cases are often settled rather than there being a clear 'winner' or 'loser' and the issue of reimbursement would form part of the settlement.
Responding to the announcement TUC General Secretary, Brendan Barber, said that it was crucial that working people had fair access to justice, but introducing fees for Tribunals would discourage many, particularly those on low wages, from taking valid claims to court.
He warned that many of the UK's most vulnerable workers would be put in danger of being simply priced out of justice.
The Government's remission scheme to protect low-paid employees was sadly inadequate, and workers would be more likely to be mistreated at work as rogue bosses could flout the law without any fear of sanctions.
Tim Thomas, Head of Employment Policy at EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, welcomed the announcement saying that fees were one way to encourage judicious use of the Tribunal by users.
He added that Employers were facing a steep rise in speculative claims in recent years, many of which are withdrawn or struck out, leaving employers picking up the bill. Claimants having nothing to lose under the current system would be checked if the fees system is properly introduced.