Vertex Law Says Tribunal Fee System May Not Pay Off


Government plans to pass the cost of employment tribunals from the taxpayer to the claimant may do little to reduce the number of weak claims, according to Vertex Law.

Following a lengthy consultation on how to reform the process, a two-tier fee system is due to be introduced.

Straightforward claims, such as unlawful deductions, notice pay and redundancy pay, will cost £160 to lodge and carry an additional £230 hearing fee. Most other claims, including unfair dismissal, discrimination and equal pay, will attract a £250 fee to lodge the claim and an additional £950 hearing fee.

Previously the Government maintained that the reason for the introduction of a fee structure was a need to reduce the number of weak claims lodged at the Employment Tribunal and to encourage businesses and workers to mediate and settle disputes before they get to a full hearing.

However, the Ministry of Justice has admitted that, in addition to promoting early settlement of disputes, the main reason for the introduction of fees is to reduce the cost to the taxpayer.

Erica Dennett, Employment Solicitor at Vertex Law, based at Kings Hill, said there are fears neither goal may be achieved.

“It is unclear at this stage whether the fee structure will have a significant impact on the number of claims lodged,” she said. “Unsurprisingly, the consultation confirms that many people on low incomes may be exempt from paying all or any fees.

“Given that many claims lodged at the Employment Tribunal are by those who have lost their jobs and are, therefore without an income at all, there are likely to be a large number of claimants that may qualify for an exemption. The Government has pledged further details of this aspect of the reform following a review of the exemptions currently in place in the civil court system.

“The trade unions have expressed concern that workers, particularly those on low incomes, will lose their access to justice even where they have a valid claim and that these reforms are largely in favour of employers. On the other side of the fence, employers have welcomed these changes, hoping that it will deter vexatious claims with no real prospects of success, which are often extremely costly for employers.”

Vertex Law’s employment team provides businesses with practical advice and support. Their aim is to help Kent businesses flourish by showing them how they can use employment law to their advantage, rather than seeing it as a hurdle.

For more information on Vertex Law’s employment law services, visit www.vertexlaw.co.uk.

 

 

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