The end of employment tribunals? Not yet anyway!

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The introduction of fees is having a profound impact on the number of claims being lodged at the Employment Tribunal and therefore employers, including CFAs, are statistically at a reduced risk of having claims made against them through the Employment Tribunals.

Employment tribunal fees were introduced on 29 July 2013 and subsequently mandatory early conciliation procedures were introduced from 6 May 2014. The current issue fee for a Type A claim is £160 and the hearing fee is £230. For Type B claims the issue fee is £250 and £950 for the hearing fee.

There has been a primary reduction in claims nationally due to the fees, with claims being reduced by 70%. There has also been a secondary reduction in claims due to early conciliation. Acas has been very busy with early conciliation. From its introduction in April until the end of June, Acas has received 16,605 employee initiated early conciliations and 540 employer initiated early conciliations.  This has also had a profound effect on the number of claims going to tribunal.

The practice of unfair dismissal cases being listed upon receipt of the claim form has been a success and will continue. Due to its success, discrimination and public interest disclosure cases will now automatically be listed for preliminary hearings as it is felt that case management at an early stage in such cases is important. It is not yet clear whether these will be in person or over the telephone, however there has been an indication that where both parties are represented it is likely to be over the telephone.

Where the parties are in settlement negotiations and the hearing fee is due to be paid, the claimant can apply for an extension of time to settle or to pay the fee. This will be considered by the administrative team (rather than a judge) at the tribunal. The consent of the respondent is not necessary as it is the claimant who pays the fee.

For more information, help or advice please contact Em Love on 0191 211 7990.