The Employment Tribunals (Constitution and Rules of Procedure) Regulations 2013 will come fully into force on 29th July 2013. This will bring in many changes, the most significant of which is the introduction of fees for claimants bringing an employment tribunal claim.

The Employment Tribunals (Constitution and Rules of Procedure) Regulations 2013 comes fully into force on 29th July 2013. This will bring in many changes, the most significant of which is the introduction of fees for claimants bringing an employment tribunal claim. These are the issue and hearing fees for type A and type B claims.

According to figures from Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), there were 186,000 employment tribunal cases between April 2011 and March 2012. Each case cost the taxpayer £1,900 and the employer an average of £3,900.

New fees

Claims fees will be grouped into two categories:

  • Type A claims are money related, such as unpaid redundancy and wages
  • Type B is everything else, including discrimination and unfair dismissal

There will be two points at which fees will have to be paid: the first is when you issue a claim, and the second is 4 to 6 weeks before the final hearing of the claim. If payment isn’t received before the final hearing, the claim will be dismissed – although it can be reinstated if the fee is paid, but only at the tribunal’s discretion.

  • Type A issue fee - £160
  • Type A hearing fee - £230
  • Type B issue fee - £250
  • Type B hearing fee - £950

Remission of fees

Some claimants may be eligible for reduced fees if they meet the income criteria, which will be based on a combination of income and capital savings.

Further changes

The regulations introduce further changes, the details of which you can read in full here.

To summarise some of the key changes:

  • An initial “paper sift” by the judge to determine whether the claim should proceed or be struck out (this decision can be appealed by either party)
  • Combining the case management discussion and pre-hearing review into one preliminary hearing
  • Tribunal judges will be able to order, at their discretion, the unsuccessful party to reimburse any fees paid by the successful party.
  • Conciliation is strongly encouraged, and from April 2014, all claimants will need to notify ACAS first, where conciliation will be offered. If conciliation is unsuccessful within the set period the claimant can proceed to lodge a tribunal claim.

Judgment or award not paid?

If the claimant is awarded an order or judgment for money, the defendant will have 14 days in which to pay it (unless the court sets an alternative time frame).

Once this period has passed and the award has not been paid, then the claimant can transfer it to the High Court for enforcement by a High Court Enforcement Officer (HCEO) using the Fast Track scheme.

All employment tribunal awards, regardless of value, can be enforced by an HCEO. There is a £66 court fee to transfer the award. Find out more about enforcement of employment tribunal awards.

Likely impact

I think it highly likely that the introduction of fees will reduce the number of claims.

One benefit is that a reduction in the number of spurious claims with little merit should free up the court system, as well as reduce the cost to businesses, both to the advantage of the overall economy.

Countering that, I do hope that the ability for remission of fees will still make the system accessible to all with a valid claim.

Will fewer claims mean fewer cases for HCEOs? Possibly. However, I think it is likely that more of those cases will be enforceable.
 

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