• 01616 966 229
  • Request a callback
Stephensons Solicitors LLP Banner Image

News and Events

The current consultation to re-introduce fees to the employment tribunal and employment appeal tribunal

View profile for Joanne Ribchester
  • Posted
  • Author
Corporate criminal liability expansion

The government is currently undergoing a consultation, due to take place between 29 January 2024 to 25 March 2024, to consider the re-introduction of tribunal fees for employees to access the justice service when they have an employment law dispute or wish to appeal a judgement delivered in an employment tribunal.

The consultation provides that being charged a fee is in line with other courts and tribunals whereby users of the service are required to contribute towards the running costs of the service that they are accessing. The cost of running the employment tribunal and employment appeal tribunal for the period 2022/2023 totals £80 million and is currently completely funded from public money.

The proposed fees are priced at a more modest level than the fee regime introduced (and then abolished) under previous governments between 2013-2017, with a suggested issue fee of £55 per claim, to cover the entire journey of the claim through the employment tribunal. There is also a proposal of a £55 fee to lodge an appeal against a single judgement. The consultation suggests that this may incentivise parties to look to settle the claim before the issue reaches the employment tribunal. There is a proposal that some people may be able to gain assistance with the fees through the Help with Fees scheme, where eligibility will be means tested.

There are pros and cons to the proposal.

The consultation suggests that by introducing the fees, it is estimated that this could generate between £1.3million to £1.7million from 2025/2026 which would go towards the cost of running the employment tribunals/employment appeal tribunal, and ACAS, which would remain a free service to assist with conciliation between the employer and the employee.

Furthermore, by introducing a fee to issue a claim, this may act as a deterrent for employees lodging frivolous claims against an employer, and therefore save wasted judicial time and money spent by the employer in having to defend such claims.

Other commentators have however said that being charged a fee may also act as a deterrent for employees bringing valid claims against employers due to being unable to find the money to pay in the current economical situation, but on paper they may not meet the threshold for the Help with Fees scheme.

The fee could potentially only incentivise the employee who is bringing the claim against the company to settle the claim and may lead to more employers being less likely to wish to settle outside of court due to the belief that the employee may not be in a position to pay the fee to start their claim at the employment tribunal, especially where they have lost their employment and income. Some employers may take advantage of this during the ACAS early conciliation period.

Whether for or against the proposal, if it is put in place, introducing fees will have an impact on the end users of the employment tribunal but whether this will be detrimental or positive remains to be seen.

Anyone with an interest in, or views on the subject of the consultation are able to submit their answers to the questionnaire currently on the  Ministry of Justice website by 25 March 2024.

If you are an individual or business needing legal advice or representation in relation to employment tribunal claims call us on 0161 696 6170.