Legal Advice for Employees
How easy is it to take my case to the Employment Tribunal?July 05, 2017
The latest official statistics suggest that claimants are still being discouraged by having to pay fees in the Employment Tribunal. But individuals need not be put off seeking justice for workplace wrongs, explains Head of Employment Law Julia Beasley, who regularly acts for claimants.
Employment Tribunals were set up in 1964, when they were called industrial tribunals. They were designed specifically to hear workplace issues, such as the non-payment of wages. Although they are courts of law, they were always intended to be informal and accessible as possible.
However, fees were introduced in July 2013. Almost immediately, claims in Employment Tribunals fell by more than half, and have stayed at that level.
The latest government statistics (Q4 of 2016/7) show that during the full year 2016/7, over 17,000 individuals brought cases to the Employment Tribunals in England and Wales. That is well under half of the claims that were brought in the year before the introduction of fees.
It costs £160 to issue a simple claim; £250 for a more complex claim. If the case goes to a final hearing, the additional fee is £230 or £950.
Don’t despair! As a claimant you should bear in mind:
- If you cannot afford to pay the fees upfront, you may be entitled to apply for a fee remission. In 2016/17, 63% of applications for issue fees were granted, and 83% of applications for hearing fee remissions. These successful claimants did not have to pay the normal fees.
- If you do pay the fees and do go on win your case, the Tribunal judge is likely to order your opponent to compensate you for the fees you have paid.
- If you have legal expenses insurance (for instance, under a household insurance policy), the Employment Tribunal fees may be covered under the policy.
Finally, it’s worth remembering that if you have a strong case, we may be able to offer you a ‘no win, no fee’ arrangement to cover the costs of your solicitor – meaning that the Employment Tribunal fees will be the only payment that you need to make upfront. It may be a small risk to take, in order to get the very best outcome to your case.