The fees are controversial in that they could appear to be prohibitive and would on face value, prevent those most in need from accessing justice.
In short claimants will need to pay £250.00 to issue a claim and £950 around six weeks before the hearing date for claims of unfair dismissal and discrimination. In less complex and straightforward claims the initial fee will be £160.00 and £230.00 to have the claim heard at a hearing.
There are of course two Judicial Reviews in play challenging the governments ability to charge fees which will be heard later this year and we eagerly await the results. This being said however, I have been asked as to whether or not I think claimants will be put off under the new fees regime. Personally I do not think they will and the new fees will do little to stem the flow of claims being made. This is for the following reasons:
- For those unfairly dismissed and who have lost their jobs, they will probably be able to claim a full remission against the fees payable.
- Those who can demonstrate a low income (disposable) will be entitled to some remission against fees.
- Those who have higher value claims or more highly paid employees are unlikely to be put off with the fees payable.
- If claims are settled, then no doubt respondents will be asked to cover the fees in any settlement or COT3 agreement.
In my view the fees in place will do little to cut the claims culture although admittedly those with vexatious claims might be prepared to take another view if they are made to pay to play.
I think in summary, the changes that have most impact arising from July 29th are those relating to the procedural rules which have simplified matters considerably for parties before the Employment Tribunals.
I regularly appear at Employment Tribunals and have represented claimants and respondents and I do not see the need for my expertise dwindling anytime soon. If you need Employment Law advice or help with Employment Tribunals please do not hesitate to contact me on 07716 346 708.