Review of the introduction of fees in the Employment Tribunal

13 February 2017

The government is consulting on proposals for an adjustment to the Help with Fees scheme to extend the scope of support available to people on lower incomes.

The government has published a review of the introduction of fees in the Employment Tribunals (ET) which shows that the introduction of fees (in July 2013) has broadly met its objectives:

  • users are contributing between £8.5 million and £9 million a year in fee income, in line with expectations, transferring a proportion of the cost from the taxpayer to those who use the tribunal;
  • more people are now using Acas’s free conciliation service than were previously using voluntary conciliation and bringing claims to the ET combined; and
  • Acas’s conciliation service is effective in helping just under half the people who refer disputes to them avoid the need to go to the tribunal, and where conciliation has not worked, most people go on to issue proceedings in the ET.

The review has however identified some issues of concern. The fall in claims has been significantly greater than was estimated when fees were first introduced. Although the government remain satisfied that there are sufficient safeguards in place to make sure that fees do not prevent people from bringing claims before the ETs, there does appear to be evidence that fees have discouraged some people from bringing proceedings.

Therefore a consultation has been published which sets out the government’s review of ET fees and includes proposals for reforming the Help with Fees scheme.

The deadline for responses is 14 March 2017 and should be sent to mojfeespolicy@justice.gsi.gov.uk.