Introduction of Employment Tribunal FeesAs of 29 July 2013, under the Employment Tribunals (Constitution and Rules of Procedure) Regulations 2013 and the Employment Tribunals and the Employment Appeal Tribunal Fees Order 2013, claimants in England, Scotland and Wales must now pay a required fee in order to submit employment-related claims to employment tribunals or the Employment Appeal Tribunal. Claimants must pay an ‘issue fee’ when submitting the claim and a ‘hearing fee’ if and when the claim proceeds to a full hearing. Respondents may also have to pay fees if they make certain applications during the tribunal process. The fee amounts are calculated based on the type of employment claim being pursued and the number of claimants involved. There is also a fee remission scheme available for claimants whose income is below a certain threshold or who receive benefits. The government stated that the purpose for introducing this fee is to transfer some of the £74m per annum cost of running the tribunals from the taxpayers to those who actually use the system.
When are the Fees Due?Claimants are responsible for paying the issue fee or submitting a fee remission application when initially sending the claim to the employment tribunals. If they do not, the tribunal will reject the claim, and any time limit that applies to submitting the claim will continue to run. If the claim reaches the hearing stage, the tribunal office will notify the claimant when the hearing fee is due, and if not paid, the claim will be delayed and possibly dismissed. If applications are submitted, the tribunal office will notify the filing party when the required fees are due. If not paid, the application will be dismissed.
Are the Fees Recoverable?The winning party, claimant or respondent, can ask the employment judge to include restitution of any fees paid from the other party. However, the judge has complete discretion on whether or not to award restitution of fees. Both parties may be given the chance to argue for and against restitution during the proceedings.
Legal ChallengeRecently, a legal challenge has been brought up against the introduction of the new fees. The government has stated that this legal challenge does not currently affect the introduction of the fees, and applicable fees must be paid from 29 July 2013. However, if the legal challenge against the fees is successful, the HM Courts and Tribunal Service will reimburse any fees that have been paid.
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