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  • Will fees be reintroduced in the Employment Tribunal and the Employment Appeal Tribunal?

    In January 2024 the Government proposed to reintroduce modest fees in the Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal. 

    The reasons provided for the reintroduction of fees, are as follows: 

    • To relive some of the cost to the general taxpayer by ensuring that users where they can afford to do so are paying towards the running costs of the tribunals.
    • To incentivise parties to settle their dispute early through ACAS early conciliation. This could help to alleviate some of the pressures the Employment Tribunal are currently facing as detailed below. 
    • To ensure cross-jurisdictional consistency as fees are charged in other courts and tribunals. 

    If the new fee regime is to be introduced, particular focus will need to be on ensuring that access to justice is not affected. 

    The consultation on the proposal to reintroduce fees closes on 25 March 2024. 

    Employment Tribunal backlog

    As expressed by the Law Society of England and Wales, the Employment Tribunal backlogs are leaving businesses and employees in a state of limbo for far too long. Presently, the average wait for a case to be heard is around a year, with some more complex cases taking in excess of two years to receive judgment. 

    The Covid pandemic attributed in part to the delays, however the problems have been present since the Employment Tribunals fees were abolished in 2017 as this resulted in an influx of claims. Unfortunately, the resourcing of the tribunal system has not been able to keep up with the increase, with there being a lack of both support staff and judges, resulting in justice not being able to be delivered promptly. 

    Measures have been taken by the presidents of the Employment Tribunals in England and Wales to try and alleviate the pressure on the Employment Tribunal. For instance, a significant number of employment judges have been recruited with the hope that this will speed up the Tribunal process. 

    The delays impact both Claimants and employers. Employers should carefully consider taking into account the pros and cons whether they wish to proceed or whether it would wise to try and settle. 

    Contact our team today

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