Update On Employment Tribunal Fees July 2017
- AuthorJoan Casson
On 26 July 2017, the most recent impediment to tribunal claims was overturned with immediate effect. On that date the Supreme Court ruled that the fee system in place since July 2013, which required people claiming at employment tribunals to pay fees unless they qualified for a remission, was unlawful. The Supreme Court’s decision was so significant that unions, law firms (including Tilly Bailey & Irvine) and news reports were immediately spreading the word. Although we have covered the subject already, it is such a significant change that we wish to keep you updated.
Immediately after the decision was announced, employment tribunals were already accepting claims without requiring any claim fee. Shortly thereafter the online application service was closed down so adjustments could be made to remove the requirement for fees. While changes are taking place, anyone who wishes to submit a claim may obtain the relevant form (ET1) through the website www.gov.uk/employment-tribunals/make-a-claim; however, for the moment they will need to complete and submit the completed claim form by other means to the relevant office. Full details are on the website.
But What About The Fees Already Paid?
The government was ordered and has agreed to refund those fees paid under the scheme; therefore, those who have paid fees should be entitled to refunds. But who will receive the refund and when?
The task will not be easy so it will likely take quite some time. Some claimants qualified for a reduction or complete waiver of their fees. Some claimants lost their cases or withdrew their claims despite paying the fees in full. Some employers were ordered to reimburse the successful claimants for the fees they had paid and, in essence, have incurred those fees by paying the compensation awarded. Other claimants may have obtained an order for compensation for fees but received nothing from their employer or only received part of the compensation awarded.
All people who were affected by the fee regime, whether by paying initially or as part of an order, should keep abreast of any progress on these matters to ensure that they receive any refund which applies to them. Addresses and other contact details may have changed so you should not just leave matters to the tribunals.
An announcement on the details of a refund scheme is expected during September 2017. Please keep referring to our website and social media platforms as we will keep them regularly updated as to any progress on these matters.