In July 2017, the Supreme Court ruled that fees for employment tribunals were unlawful, resulting in the fees, introduced in July 2013, being scrapped.

You can read more about this in this article.

This means that employees looking to bring a claim against their employer, whether for unfair dismissal or discrimination, are now able to do so at no cost within three months.

Claims not made due to fees

Minister of State Dominic Raab has said that those who were unable to bring a claim because of the cost of the fees will be able reapply outside the normal three-month limitation period and that cases will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

The Government has still not announced details of how those who did pay fees will be reimbursed. 

Unpaid awards

Should an award be made but the former employer has still not paid, the employee claimant has the right to transfer the award to the High Court for enforcement by a High Court Enforcement Officer (HCEO).

Fast Track scheme

The whole process was simplified for claimants in 2010 with the introduction of the Fast Track scheme, which was brought in as a result of research commissioned by the Government showing that 39% of awards remain unpaid and only 53% are paid in full.

The Fast Track reduced the process of transfer up to the High Court to just one form – the N471 for employment tribunal awards and the N471A for ACAS settlements – and there is a court fee of £66. [links to instruction forms]

No minimum award value

There is no minimum award value for the enforcement of an employment tribunal award or ACAS settlement by an HCEO (county court judgments must be for £600 or above for enforcement by an HCEO). 

You can also add court costs to the sum to be recovered and judgment interest at 8% per annum, calculated on a daily basis.

No compliance fee

The HCEO’s enforcement fees are recovered from the debtor.

However, if it is not possible to recover any money (the company may have ceased trading or have no assets), there is nothing further for the claimant to pay.

This makes the total outlay £66 for the High Court writ if enforcement is not successful, and zero outlay if it is.

More effective enforcement

HCEOs tend to enforce more quickly and more effectively than County Court bailiffs, as they work longer hours and are only paid on results.

At The Sheriffs Office, we have a smooth and fast process for obtaining the writ, which means that we can obtain the writ within just a few days and we can very promptly attend the debtor’s premises to enforce the writ of control, once the 7 clear days’ notice of enforcement has expired.


David Asker

David is an authorised High Court Enforcement Officer and our Director of Corporate Governance

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