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Government review of Employment Tribunal fees published

Print publication

07/03/2017

Employment Tribunal fees are here to stay according to the Government’s “Review of the introduction of fees in the Employment Tribunal”. There will, however, be a further consultation on possible reform of the system, mainly in relation to the fee remission scheme.

The long awaited review shows a 70% drop in the number of cases taken to employment tribunals over the past three and a half years. It finds that, “the original objectives [of the fee system] have broadly been met” and that “while there is clear evidence that Employment Tribunal fees have discouraged people from bringing claims, there is no conclusive evidence that they have been prevented from doing so”. Nevertheless, the review states, “[there are] some matters of concern that cannot be ignored and the Government has decided to take action to address these concerns.” The main action appears to be a proposed extension of the fee remission scheme. However, the Government has also announced an immediate exemption from fees for proceedings for recovery from the National Insurance Fund (mainly claims for redundancy payments where an employer is insolvent).

You may recall that Unison brought judicial review proceedings challenging the introduction of Employment Tribunal fees. These proceedings are still rumbling on and the case is due to be heard by the Supreme Court on the 27 and 28 March 2017.  It is unlikely that the proceedings will result in the fees regime being abolished although it cannot be ruled out.

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