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Proposal to reintroduce employment tribunal fees

January 2024

The government has announced a consultation on the proposal to reintroduce fees for bringing employment tribunal claims.

First introduced in 2013, employment tribunal fees saw claimants having to pay separate fees to issue their claims and to have them heard. Fee levels differed according to the nature of the claim.

On 26 July 2017, the Supreme Court declared employment tribunal fees to be an unlawful interference with the common law right of access to justice and the fees were subsequently abolished.  

However, the government has now announced proposals to reintroduce tribunal fees. Under the proposed scheme, tribunal issue fees would be at the flat rate of £55 per claim. In the event of a multi-claimant claim, the fee would be unchanged, with the multiple claimants being treated as a single entity. No separate hearing fee would be payable.

The £55 fee would also apply on lodging an appeal in the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT), however the fee would apply per tribunal decision, direction or order being appealed. Therefore, an appellant seeking to appeal more than one tribunal decision or direction could incur multiples of the £55 fee.

A fee exemption would apply in the case of claims in which individuals are seeking a right to payment from the national insurance fund. Further, individuals could apply under the Help with Fees remission scheme where eligible. 

Based on 2022-23 volumes, the government estimates that the proposed fees could generate between £1.3 million and £1.7 million a year from 2025-26 onwards. It is expected that, if the consultation is successful, these new fees will be implemented from November 2024. For now, the status quo remains and claimants may continue to submit claims free of charge. However given the modest level of proposed fees and the cost of administering the employment tribunal, it is arguably not unreasonable to expect that fees will be reintroduced.

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