Following a consultation earlier in the year on introducing Employment Tribunal fees to initiate and continue claims, the Ministry of Justice has now confirmed they will start operating in the summer of 2013.

In its response published last week, the government said that the fees were being introduced in order to “reduce the taxpayer subsidy”. It appears that the previous justification - that fees would deter weak or vexatious claims - is no longer the rationale.

The same remission system which already exists for court users who pay fees to use the civil courts' services will be extended to Employment Tribunals so that people on low incomes may not have to pay the full fee.

The government says it’s committed to reviewing the fee structure once it has been implemented and will publish a further consultation on remissions in the autumn.

The fees will be charged in two stages - the first will apply when issuing the claim; and the second before the hearing.

There will also be different levels of fees, as follows:

  • level 1 claims (very straightforward) will incur an issue fee of £160 and a hearing fee of £230
  • level 2 claims will incur an issue fee of £250 and a hearing fee of £950
  • claims at the Employment Appeal Tribunal will incur an appeal fee of £400 and a hearing fee of £1,200
  • multiple claims will incur a hearing fee of up to £5,700
  • other fees include £60 for an application to dismiss following settlement and £600 for judicial mediation

The fees will be payable in advance, and most types will only apply to the person bringing the claim. Although the Tribunal will have the power to order the unsuccessful party to reimburse the fee to the successful party, there is no requirement for it to do so. Fees can also be taken into account during settlement negotiations.

Issue fees will only be refunded in limited circumstances and hearing fees in cases that are settled or withdrawn will not be refunded once they have been listed for hearing, unless the Tribunal made an administrative error.

To access the full response, visit the Ministry of Justice consultation page