Those of you who follow our blog and attend our seminars will be aware of the imminent introduction of Employment Tribunal fees. Some sources cite 12 July 2013 as the implementation date and indeed the draft Employment Tribunals and the Employment Appeal Tribunal Fees Order 2013 was laid before the Parliament last week. The HM Courts and Tribunals Service issued a stakeholder letter and a Q&A sheet on 25 April 2013 setting out the highlights of the fees reform and confirming that the fees are indeed scheduled to be introduced at the end of July 2013.
One aspect of the fees reform which is of particular interest is the transitional provisions, which logically would be necessary to limit a surge in the number of cases before the date that fees are introduced. Regrettably, the Government decided not to introduce the fees with a transitionary period. This means that only claims issued on or after the implementation date will attract the fees and there will be no exemption for claims issued where the relevant event occurred before the implementation date. Further, the draft Fees Order and the Q&A sheet confirm that as long as the claim was brought before the implementation date, no hearing fee will be payable in the claim, even though the hearing may take place after the relevant date.
One further point to note about the draft Fees Order is that “Level 1” and “Level 2” claims will now be referred to as “Type A” and “Type B” claims respectively.
With only a few months to go before the fees are introduced, no doubt claimants will want to present their claims in good time, while the potential respondents will need to carefully consider how they wish to adopt their strategies in the light of the fee introduction and the wider employment law reforms.
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