The Ministry of Justice has launched a consultation on introducing fees for Employment Tribunal claims and Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) appeals. The proposal is for a one off £55 fee to be payable on submitting a claim to the Employment Tribunal, or on lodging an appeal to the EAT.
The consultation comes several years after fees in the Employment Tribunal and the EAT were removed following the Supreme Court judgment in the case of R (on the application of UNISON) v Lord Chancellor that the previous fee system was unlawful. That judgment criticised the affordability of the previous fee regime, where fees could amount to £1,200 depending on the type of claim being brought.
The consultation emphasises that the new proposal is to introduce a modest and straightforward fee regime, which is intended to relieve some of the financial burden on taxpayers of maintaining the Courts and Tribunals Service. The £55 fee would be payable by the claimant on bringing an Employment Tribunal claim, and then by the appellant upon lodging an appeal in the EAT. Where multiple claimants bring one claim, the fee can be split between them.
The Government anticipates that payment of a fee might incentivise early resolution of disputes through ACAS before a claim is brought. If the proposal is confirmed, a 'Help with Fees' remission scheme will also be available for eligible claimants. The remission scheme will allow eligible claimants to qualify for whole or partial fee remission.
The consultation closes on 25 March 2024.