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The Government has just announced the fees which will be charged for employment tribunals from the summer of 2013.
The fees have been introduced after a consultation which looked at how those using the system could contribute to its running where they can afford to do so, rather that it being funded by the tax payer.
A secondary aim is to encourage potential tribunal parties to seek alternative methods of resolution to their disputes such as mediation, before starting tribunal proceedings.
The fees depend on whether a claim is a Level 1 or level 2 claim.
Whether a claim is level 1 or level 2 depends on its' expected complexity. As an example, claims relating to holiday pay, unlawful deduction of wages and redundancy payments are likely to be level 1 whilst discrimination and equal pay claims are more likely to be level 2.
There is a separate fee structure for multiple claims (i.e. claims submitted jointly by more than one claimant) in employment tribunals.
For claims submitted to the Employment Appeal Tribunal the issue fee is £400 and the hearing fee is £1,200. For applications to the EAT, there will be one set fee - the level of complexity or number of claimants involved in the claim makes no difference to the fee.
Employment tribunals will have the power to order the unsuccessful party to reimburse the successful party.
Sensible employers (and the lawyers advising them) should do all they can to avoid tribunals, and the introduction of these fees next year further highlights the importance of good practice and resolving problems before they get out of control.