Following on from the disclosure that the number of Employment Tribunal claims soared to 236,000 in 2009/2010, an increase of 56% in one year, in 2011 the Government announced that it planned to start charging fees to bring a claim to an Employment Tribunal. The charging of fees is an attempt not only to discourage frivolous claims with little chance of success but also to encourage the use of mediation and arbitration while reducing the £84m cost to the taxpayer.
The Government-funded Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) will continue to provide a free dispute resolution service and it is hoped that Tribunals will be reserved solely for more serious or complex cases. A further alternative to a full claim will be to request mediation by a judge for a fixed fee of £600.
After a period of consultation The Ministry of Justice has recommended that claimants will be charged fees from summer 2013. The minimum fee will be £160 to issue a simple level 1 claim with a further £230 fee if the claim goes to a hearing. A full level 2 hearing of a more complex matter would cost £250 to issue the claim with a further £950 payable on hearing. People on low incomes will be able to apply for an exemption under the same remission scheme that is already in use on the civil courts .Another change to the current regime is that the tribunal will have the power to order the unsuccessful party to reimburse the fees to the successful party.