As anticipated, the Government has proposed the introduction of fees for applications to Employment Tribunals.
Two options have been proposed:
Option one: an initial fee of £150-£250 to begin a claim, with an additional fee of £250-£1250 if the claim goes to a hearing. There would be no limit to the maximum award.
Option two: a single fee of £200-£600, with the maximum award capped at £30,000. There would be the option of an additional fee of £1,750 for those seeking awards above this amount.
Fees would be paid upfront and would be reimbursed if successful. There would be a means testing process.
It has been widely accepted by employers for some time that a claim brought in an Employment Tribunal is not always for the right reasons. That is, workers can use the system to bring claims with no merit in the hope that the employer will decide to cut their losses and settle instead of taking on the burden of costs, which the claimant is rarely ordered to pay in the event of an unsuccessful claim. For this reason, proposals have been welcomed by business groups including the CBI and IoD.
Adrian Marlowe, Chairman of the Association of Recruitment Consultancies (ARC) described the proposal as ‘an important turning point. However the criteria for means testing should be clarified and may be key to the success of the Government’s strategy if the right balance is achieved. The rights of genuine claimants should not be precluded purely because the claimant has insufficient funds.’