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Employment Tribunal fee reimbursement scheme announced

UK Pound coins sitting on a Ten Pound Note Print publication

24/11/2017

The Government has launched the Employment Tribunal fee reimbursement scheme covering both Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal fees.

Applicants (including both claimants and respondents who were required to pay fees) can apply for reimbursement of the fees paid plus interest at 0.5%.

I am an employer who had to pay a claimant’s costs order. Am I entitled to apply for reimbursement?

Yes. Employers who were ordered to pay a claimant their fees under a costs order will be entitled to apply for reimbursement on provision of evidence that the costs order was made and paid.

We included the claimant’s tribunal fee in a settlement agreement. Can we claim it back?

No. Disappointingly, the scheme will not be open to respondents who compensated a claimant for their tribunal fees under a settlement agreement.

What about claims that were dismissed or not accepted for failure to pay the fee?

The announcement is silent on how the Government intends to deal with claims (thought to number approximately 7,500) which were not accepted or were dismissed because of failure to pay a fee (or failure to apply for remission). It is thought that the Tribunal service may write to affected claimants asking whether they wish their claim to be reinstated but this has not been confirmed.  We understand that the scheme will not cover claims that were never brought because the individual was deterred from doing so because of the fee.  If such a claim is brought now, it will be dealt with under the normal judicial rules for out-of-time claims.

What else do I need to know?

There will be a phased implementation of the scheme, under which approximately 1,000 eligible parties will be invited to apply for reimbursement. Full roll-out of the scheme is expected within four weeks. Anyone who paid a fee but does not receive an invitation to take part in the initial stage will be able to pre-register their interest in applying for reimbursement.

The Ministry of Justice and the Courts and Tribunals Service have said that further details of the scheme will be made available once full roll out has occurred. This will include details of how to apply.

The government estimates that the total reimbursement costs, including interest, will be approximately £33 million.

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