It has been no secret that since the abolishment of Tribunal Fees following last year’s supreme court ruling, employment tribunal claims have sky rocketed. However, there could be light at the end of the tunnel.
When fees were first introduced (alongside ACAS acting as conciliators), there was a significant fall in the number of claims being handled through Tribunal Courts; therefore, this led to a decrease in the number of sitting judges.
Since the abolishment of fees and the significant increase in the number of claims now being pursued, employment tribunal courts are creaking under the pressure, with cases being scheduled significantly into future dates.
It is being reported that the Ministry of Justice has confirmed that it may reintroduce the fee system insisting it can find a balance that helps fund the court system while being ‘proportionate and progressive’.
Richard Heaton, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Justice, has highlighted that the Supreme Court judgement did not completely prevent the reintroduction of fees. He said, “We have taken time over this. We have to get the fee level right. I can see a scheme working that is both progressive and allows people out of paying fees where they can’t afford to.”
Whilst under the old scheme there was always a right for the tribunals to waive such fees, it appears that this is now being looked at again, which could be some comfort to employers. Although at this stage it is unclear when, how (or perhaps even if) fees will be reintroduced but we will update you as soon as there are any further developments.
If you are currently undergoing an Employment Tribunal Claim, as an employer, and need advice or support then take a look at our Employment Tribunal Service or call us on 0845 2626 260