Will I Have To Pay To Bring A Tribunal Claim?

The coalition Government has decided to implement a two-stage fee charging structure for those wishing to bring Tribunal Claims.  Claimants will be required to present an "issue fee" when they submit their claim or appeal, followed by a "hearing fee" prior to a hearing. However, as you might have expected, there will be exemptions or “remissions” for those on low income.

A Claimant’s right to an exemption will be based on both their capital (savings and investments) and household monthly income.  The disposable capital test is what distinguishes the new proposed test from the existing Courts and Tribunals “Remissions Scheme”. Under the previous system, a Claimant would qualify for a remission based on income alone.

The current proposal for the capital test is:

  • Remission of fees of up to £1,000 will be available to Claimants with disposable capital of £3,000 or less.
  • Remission of fees between £1,001 and £4,000 will be available to Claimants with disposable capital of over £3,000 but less than £8,000.
  • Where the fee may be more than £4,000, the disposable capital limit would be increased to £16,000.

This is a significant change to the current Remissions Scheme applied in the County Court. Is it fair that an employee who has been unfairly dismissed through no fault of their own is forced to use their savings to bring a Claim? Possibly not, but if they succeed with their Claim - the fee will be returned.

If the Claimant passes the disposable capital test, the next test would be to consider whether, based on their income, they should receive a full fee waiver, make a contribution to their fee, or pay the full fee. A Claimant will be granted a full fee waiver if they can demonstrate that their household income is below a certain threshold. Whether the Claimant is single or in a couple, and how many children they have, will be relevant. We eagerly await publication of the details.

Overall, I am in favour of the concept that those using the Tribunal system will have to contribute to it. If you cannot afford the fee - you will be entitled to a remission. If you can afford the fee, and you succeed with your claim - you will get it back. This will be of no comfort to those who bring what they believe is a valid claim and lose, but I for one, have faith in the Tribunal system – they get the right answer “most” of the time.

For more information on employment law, please contact James Twine on 01752 292351 or email jtwine@wolferstans.com

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