In an ideal world, the defendant will pay the employment tribunal award once it has been made. Sadly, though, that is often not the case.
Research commissioned by the Government showed that 39% of awards remain unpaid and only 53% are paid in full. In 2010 the Government launched the ACAS and Employment Tribunal FastTrack system to make it easier and quicker to enforce an Employment Tribunal award or ACAS settlement.
What is the FastTrack system?
The new Fast Track scheme was implemented to significantly speed up and simplify the enforcement process.
The new scheme allows High Court Enforcement Officers (HCEOs) who are authorised by the Lord Chancellor to enforce employment tribunal awards and ACAS settlements under the authority of a writ of control (previously called a writ of fieri facias).
The writ of control authorises the HCEO to seize goods from the defendant, normally the former employer, to sell at auction to recover the value of the award, the court fees, interest and the HCEO fees.
How is it different?
Before the FastTrack it was still possible to transfer an employment tribunal award to the High Court for enforcement, but the FastTrack system has made the process simpler and easier, reducing the number of forms required to just one.
Does it matter how much the award is for?
No. there is no minimum value for transfer to an HCEO for enforcement (there is for judgments and orders, but this does not apply to Employment Tribunal awards and ACAS settlements).
What does it cost?
There is a court fee of £66 to transfer the award and obtain the writ of control.
The court fee is added to the amount to be recovered from the defendant. If enforcement is successful the claimant will be paid the award, the court fee and interest at 8%.
The HCEO’s fees are paid by the defendant.
Step 1 – choosing an HCEO
You can start enforcement as soon as the defendant has defaulted in payment.
You can either instruct your own HCEO, for example The Sheriffs Office, or you can contact Registry Trust, who will allocate an HCEO based on a rota system.
We would recommend you research which HCEO can provide the best service and has the best track record, rather than waiting to see who you’ll be allocated.
Step 2 – submitting the application
If you no longer have the order, you can get a certified copy at no cost by writing to:
The Secretary to the Tribunals
10-0 Southgate Street
Bury St Edmonds
Step 3 – adding interest
The HCEO will add the interest you are owed to the application to the Court at the rate of 8%.
Step 4 – enforcement
The HCEO will attend the defendant’s premises and take control of (seize) goods. In the majority of cases, the threat of seizure encourages payment. At The Sheriffs Office, we find that only 1% of cases results in the removal of goods.
Step 5 – payment
Payment is made to the claimant approximately 14 days after the HCEO has either received the money from the defendant or from the sale of goods seized.
Peter is an authorised High Court Enforcement Officer and Chairman of The Sheriffs Office.