On 31 January 2017, the government published its review of the
Employment Tribunal (ET) fees system. As our
readers will be aware, the current system of requiring claimants to
pay ET fees has faced significant criticism as creating a barrier
to access to justice. The government has reviewed the situation and
found that the introduction of fees has "broadly met its
objectives". The lengthy report explains that, among other
reasons, the introduction of the successful early conciliation
scheme has contributed to the decline in potential claims
proceeding to the ET. Further, that while people may have been
discouraged from bringing claims because of the applicable fees,
"there is no conclusive evidence that people have been
prevented from bringing a claim".
Despite the glowing praise for the current system, there are
still a few areas that the government have found to be
unsatisfactory. First, as of 31 January 2017, no fees are required
to bring a claim related to the recovery of a redundancy payment
from the National Insurance Fund. The government has recognised
that early conciliation may not resolve this dispute via early
conciliation and that, as the employers are insolvent, the
claimants will be unable to recover their fees from their
employers. Second, the current Help with Fees scheme (which helps
claimants with fee remission) is proposed to be extended, so that
workers who earn approximately the National Living Wage, will be
able to benefit from this scheme and have support with fees.
Please access the report (and respond to the consultation by 13
March 2017) by clicking on the link.
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