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Concern over possible introduction of Employment Tribunal fee

The British Chamber of Commerce is calling for the introduction of an Employment Tribunal fee for employees

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7 January 2011

Leigh Day & Co is very concerned to hear that the British Chambers of Commerce is calling for the introduction of a fee for employees to pay when taking a case to an Employment Tribunal. A fee is currently payable when taking a case through the courts, but it is free to bring a claim in the Tribunal. Dr Adam Marshall, Director of Policy and External Affairs at the BCC hopes that introducing a fee for bringing Tribunal cases would “discourage spurious and baseless claims.”

The Employment and Discrimination Team at Leigh Day & Co regularly acts for employees who have suffered unlawful acts of discrimination in the workplace including unfair dismissal, harassment and victimisation.  We oppose the idea of introducing a fee for taking a case to an Employment Tribunal and believe that it would be a potential barrier to justice for many employees, particularly those on low incomes who might not be able to afford to pay the fee. 

There is no public funding, formerly known as legal aid, for taking a case to an Employment Tribunal in England and Wales.  Imposing a fee for bringing a case to the Employment Tribunal would make it even harder for employees who have suffered unlawful treatment at work to seek redress.

Employers who are faced with claims that have no reasonable prospects of success can ask the Tribunal to hold a pre-hearing review to consider striking out the claim.  If a claim has little reasonable prospect of success, the Employment Judge may make an order requiring the employee to pay a deposit as a condition of continuing with the claim.  Employers, therefore, already have protection against what the BCC calls “spurious claims”.  The introduction of a fee for bringing a Tribunal case is an unnecessary step that would undermine the ability of employees to bring claims against employers who have treated them unlawfully.

If you have a query about a potential discrimination claim please contact Leigh Day & Co’s Employment and Discrimination Team on 020 7650 1200.

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