Ministry of Justice May Reintroduce Employment Tribunal Fees
If you’ve recently worked with employment solicitors on a tribunal at your place of work, you may have some background information already on the history of tribunal fees.
These fees were originally introduced in 2013, by lord Chancellor at the time Chris Grayling. The initial fees started at £160, with second hearings from £230 up to as much as £950. As you can imagine, these fees can really stack up, especially at a time where employment is typically in question.
The structure of these fees was always controversial, and then, in 2017, a Supreme Court judge ruled that they were unlawful. This meant that everybody who had, up until then, paid a tribunal fee under this scheme needed to be refunded. In 2017.2018, refunds for employment tribunal fees totalled £7.1 million.
However, now Richard Heaton, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Justice, has spoken out to say that this is not necessarily the end of the story for tribunal fees, according to the Law Gazette. In fielding questions from the House of Commons Justice Committee, he noted that the 2017 Supreme Court ruling did not outlaw the concept of tribunal fees, just the structure that had previously been in place: “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,” he said.
While the plans are not immediate, the Ministry of Justice is approaching the idea looking to achieve a fee structure which proportionate and does not impede access to justice.