Consultation on employment tribunal fees

The Ministry of Justice is consulting on the introduction of fees for bringing an employment tribunal claim, with fees planned both for lodging a tribunal claim and a claim proceeding to a hearing. 

Under option one, the main proposals are:

  • The fee should vary in accordance with the nature of the claim and level of likely resources required. 
  • There should be two main charging points: on issue of a claim and prior to a hearing for claims that proceed to that stage. 
  • The initial fee should be payable at the time that the claim is lodged in the tribunal by the party lodging it. 
  • The following "indicative fee levels" should apply (different fee levels apply to claims involving multiple claimants):
    • There should be an issue fee of between £150 and £250 with the fee level depending on the nature of the claim. The consultation sets out three suggested fee levels: the claims covered by level 1 fees of £150 will include claims for unpaid wages, notice pay and redundancy payments; the claims covered by level 2 fees of £200 will include claims for unfair dismissal; and level 3 fees of £250 will apply to claims for discrimination, equal pay and whisteblowing. 
    • There should be a hearing fee of between £250 and £1,250 (with the following suggested fee levels: level 1 - £250, level 2 - £1,000, level 3 - £1,200). 
  • There should be fees attached to specified applications that may be made after a claim has been accepted including: a request for written reasons, a review application and a counter claim. 
  • There should be no limit on the maximum award recoverable. 
  • The tribunals should have the power to order that the unsuccessful party reimburse the fees that have been paid by the successful party. 
  • For lodging an appeal with the Employment Appeal Tribunal, the appellant should pay an issue fee of £400 and a hearing fee of £1,200. 
  • Claimants who have lost their employment will not be required to pay a fee if they are in receipt of a specified benefit, and low-income claimants will be required to pay a lower fee. 

Under option two, the main differences are that:

  • There should be issues fees and fees for specified applications only. 
  • Claims under option two will be categorised in the same way as under option one (although the three fee levels will attract higher fees) except where a claimant is seeking an award of £30,000 or over, in which case claims will be categorised as level 4 claims and will attract a fee of £1,750, irrespective of their nature. 
  • The proposed fees that will be payable by claimants are as follows: level 1 - £200; level 2 £500; and level 3 - £600. 
  • Where a claimant is seeking an award lower than £30,000, the tribunal will be prohibited from making an award above that threshold, even if the claimant is successful and the tribunal determines that his or her loss is in excess of that amount. 

If the Government decides to implement option one, fees would be introduced in 2013. If option two is adopted, it would require primary legislation to be implemented in full, which the Government says could not be achieved until 2014. 

Responses to the consultation are requested by 6 March 2012. 


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