Settlement Agreement or Employment Tribunal?

Tribunal Fees are here to stay….. for now at least.

In July 2013 the government introduced fees to be paid by Claimant’s when issuing claims in the Employment Tribunal. The amount of the fee depends on what type of claim you have. Claims are divided into two types: Type A (i.e. claims for statutory redundancy payments, unlawful deductions from wages and breach of contract) and Type B (i.e. unfair dismissal, discrimination and whistleblowing). For a Type A Claim the issue fee is £160 and a hearing fee of £230 is payable. For Type B the issue fee and hearing fee is £250 and £950 respectively.

You must therefore pay a fees before you issue a claim against your employer. There is a remission system for those suffering from financial hardship but you must be able to satisfy the rigorous criteria. If you are successful in your claim then your employer will be ordered to reimburse any fees paid.

UNISON challenged by Judicial Review that the introduction of fees prevented access to justice and breached EU law. The challenge was unsuccessful as the Court held that it had been brought prematurely and that, as a result, the robust evidence needed to persuade it to overturn the fees regime was absent.

However, this is unlikely to be the end of the story as the Court confirmed that the Lord Chancellor was under an ongoing duty to ensure the fees regime did not infringe EU Law. Unison have also appealed the decision.

The controversial fees regime is therefore here to stay for the foreseeable future. If you are in dispute with your employer, remember to consider the fees before attempting to issue your claim and bear in mind that any negotiations towards a settlement agreement should take this issue into account.

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