Employment Tribunal Fees to be reviewed

2015-03-02 Jennifer Renney-Butland posted:

The Business Secretary Vince Cable has launched a review of the impact of employment tribunal fees and whether they are a barrier to justice. Employment Tribunal Fees were introduced in July 2013 and it now costs aggrieved employees £250 to issue a claim for unfair dismissal or discrimination. There is also a fee of £950 to apply for a hearing.

The government's decision to introduce fees in the Employment Tribunal was challenged by UNISON with a Judicial Review in the High Court at the end of last year. UNISON argued that the introduction of fees would deny access to justice for workers treated unfairly by employers and would therefore be unlawful, and that the requirement to pay fees has a disproportionate impact on women. The High Court appeared to accept the union's argument, but fudged the issue by ruling that because the fees were introduced in July 2013 the full impact could not yet be determined.

It is estimated that the number of claims received by employment tribunals has dropped by 70%. This has prompted calls for a review by some MPs including Jo Swinson the Employment Relations Minister. As a result, Vince Cable has begun a review and has stated that he will publish his findings in a few weeks. Fees have also been branded as a barrier to justice by the Citizens Advice Bureau which claims that nearly half of workers with employment issues would have to save for six months in order to afford them.

Vince Cable claims to be seeking a fair and effective operation of the employment tribunals system as it is vital to the successful enforcement of employment rights for which his department is responsible.

However the introduction of tribunal fees has been welcomed by many employers, who face an average cost of £8,500 each time a case is brought.

For more information about Employment Tribunals, and the cost of making or defending a claim, talk to one of our employment law specialist solicitors today on 01225 632240 or at info@renneyandco.com.

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