Employment Tribunal Fees Update
We reported in an earlier blog about the Supreme Court's decision that employment tribunal fees are unlawful. This has led to a promise by the Lord Chancellor to refund fees paid to Claimants.
On 5 September 2017, Dominic Raa, Minister of State for Courts and Justice, answered questions in relation to the Employment Tribunal Fees.
The two main topics raised were:
1. How will rebate arrangements work for people who have paid employment tribunal fees
At the time of the announcement that Claimants who had brought claims in the employment tribunal would have the fees refunded, no further details were given.
Dominic Raab has stated that that the Government ”will announce practical, detailed arrangements shortly” and that they wish to “ensure that all the points – particularly about people’s awareness- are properly thought through” before they announce the arrangements. Therefore it is likely we will here in the near future as to how you can apply for a rebate of employment tribunal fees. Watch this space!
2. What assessment has been made of the reasons for recent trends in the number of tribunal cases?
Dominic Raab recognised the fact that there was a significant fall in the number of cases, particularly for sex discrimination and pregnancy discrimination and has set out that “if there were potential claims that should have been made but were not, anyone who was unable to bring a claim can submit to the employment tribunal to have their case heard outside the usual time limits. The judiciary will consider those applications case by case.”
This indicates that if you were a Claimant who was unable to bring forward your claim due to having to pay employment tribunal fees, and your claim would now ordinarily be time barred, you may apply to the tribunal who will decide whether your case should be allowed to proceed. Tribunals operate strict time limits which are, generally speaking, normally three months from the date of dismissal or the date of any discriminatory act. However, it appears that this may be relaxed in relation to some Claimants who were denied access to justice because of their inability to meet employment tribunal fees.
At this stage no mention has been made of the introduction of a new revised fee regime, however we will have to wait and see how the position progresses.
This article is not a substitute for legal advice on specific facts and circumstances. It is designed as a free update on the law at the time of publishing. BakerLaw LLP and/or the writer accepts no responsibility for reliance on this article and recommends that you seek independent legal advice on your specific circumstances prior to taking any steps.