Are Employment Tribunal Fees returning?

From 2013 to 2017, Claimants and Appellants were required to pay fees in order to bring and litigate Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal proceedings. For example, a litigant bringing a discrimination claim in the Employment Tribunal would need to pay an “issue fee” of £250 to bring the claim followed by a “hearing fee” of £950 for the claim to proceed to a final hearing.

In 2017, the Supreme Court found that these fees were unlawful on the grounds that they restricted access to justice and acted as a deterrent to women bringing discrimination claims, particularly given the level of the fees charged.

On 29 January 2024, the government proposed reintroducing fees in the Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal and has launched a consultation to seek opinion on the contents of the proposal.

In respect of the proposal, the key changes suggested include:

  • Introduction of a £55 issue fee for all Employment Tribunal proceedings – there would be no separate hearing fee so this would be a one-off fee.
  • Where a claim is brought by multiple claimants, the fee would remain as £55 and the claimants would be treated as a “single entity”.
  • There would be no difference in issue fee based on the type of case pursued (under the previous regime, for example, the fees charged for a discrimination claim were more than those for an unlawful deductions from wages claim).
  • Introduction of a £55 appeal fee – this fee would apply for each decision, direction, judgment or order made by the Employment Tribunal that a party wishes to appeal to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (i.e. if two decisions are appealed, this will cost £110).

The fees would also be subject to a remission scheme meaning that some Claimants and Appellants who meet the relevant criteria will be able to apply for their fees to be covered.

The consultation on these proposed changes is open now and closes on 25 March 2024.

If you wish to comment on the consultation, you can do so here.

We will be discussing this consultation, alongside other employment law updates, at our upcoming free webinar on 13 February 2024. To book a place and attend this event, please register here. 

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