Are you ready for tribunal fees?

Year Published: 2013

On the 29 July 2013 the long awaited tribunal fee system will commence. So, what are the main changes for claimants and employers?

Background

Fees are being introduced into the tribunal system in order to transfer some of the £74 million running costs to the system users and away from the taxpayer. The government believes that those who can afford to pay to use the system should do so and the taxpayer will continue to fund the ACAS conciliation service.

Essentially the structure will operate in such a way that the party seeking the order will pay fees in advance. The claimant or appellant will pay the issue and hearing fee and the respondent will pay for any applications that they make along with paying for judicial mediation. The tribunal will have the power to order a payment of fees to the successful party however this will not happen automatically.

Presenting a claim

Claims will attract a fee from 29 July 2013. Any claim submitted prior to this date which is already in the system will not attract a fee payment.

NB: The online submissions service will not be available after 4pm on Friday 26 July 2013, therefore any claims wanting to be submitted before the 29 July must be done so by fax or e mail until 23.59 or be sent by first class post on or before the 29 July.

From the 29 July there will be a new ET1 form and three ways to submit a claim to the tribunal:

  • Online
  • Post
  • By hand

If an ET1 is completed online then the fee is payable online by either credit or debit card. If the form is sent by post then a cheque or postal order must be included and for hand delivered forms there is a list of designated tribunal offices who can receive these forms.

The time limits for submitting a claim remain the same and extensions of time will not be granted due to an inability to pay the fee or a late claim for remission.

Fees

Claims have been divided into group types of Type A and Type B. A claim form which contains multiple claims will be charged at the highest rate.

‘Type A’ claims tend to be more straightforward and include claims about unpaid wages, payment in lieu of notice, redundancy payments and refusal to allow time off to go to antenatal classes.  ‘Type B’ claims involve more complicated issues and include unfair dismissal, equal-pay claims, discrimination complaints and claims under the Public Information Disclosure Act (sometimes referred to as ‘whistleblowing’).

We have previously outlined the fees in our article however for reference they are as follows:

Fee type Type A claims Type B claims
Issue fee £160 £250
Hearing fee £230 £950

In cases where more than one claimant is bringing the same claim the fee structure makes provision for this and has suggested fees accordingly. These fees are set out below:

Type A claims
Fee type Number of claimants
Two to ten 11 to 200 201 or more
Issue fee £320 £640 £960
Hearing fee £460 £920 £1,380
Type B claims
Fee type Number of claimants
Two to ten 11 to 200 201 or more
Issue fee £500 £1,000 £1,500
Hearing fee £1,900 £3,800 £5,700

The fees for the Employment Appeal Tribunal will mirror the structure outlined above and there will be a fee of £400 to issue an appeal and a fee of £1200 to proceed to a full hearing.

The government will also implement fees in relation to specified applications to the tribunal which will become the burden of the employer rather than the claimant.

These applications and fees are as follows:

  • An application to set aside a default judgement: The fee would be £100 which would be payable by the respondent
  • An application to dismiss a claim following settlement or withdrawal: The fee would be £60 although it has been recommended that when a party withdraws their claim, the respondent should not have to pay to get their claim dismissed
  • An application for judicial mediation: The fee would be £600 and is payable by the employer
  • A breach of contract counter claim: The fee would be £160 payable by the employer
  • An application for a review of a tribunal’s decision or judgement: The fee for this would be £100 for level one claims and £350 for level two claims.

Challenge

A legal challenge has been made in regards to the introduction of fees, however regardless of this challenge the fee system will be introduced as outlined on 29 July. Should the challenge be successful the HM Courts and Tribunals Service may make arrangements to reimburse any fees that have already been paid.

For further information on this or any other employment matter, please contact our employment team.

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