Earlier this year it was announced that there would be a charge for employees wishing to bring a claim to court. The announcement was met with a bitter response from trade unions who believed it would merely encourage the worst employers to continue to act unfairly. The government maintained that the consultation had become necessary to prevent the high number of claims coming through the employment tribunals.

Guidance has now been published as to what these fees are to be. So far two options have been released:

  1. is an initial fee of £150 to £250 (depending on the nature of the case) for a claimant       to begin a claim, with an additional fee ranging between £250 to £1,250 if the             claim   goes to a hearing, with no limit to the maximum award;
  2. is a single fee of £200 to £600, but this would limit the maximum award to £30,000,         with the option of an additional fee of £1,750 for those who seek awards above this           amount.

As is the case in other civil litigation, the court will have the power to order the losing side to pay the costs that have been incurred by the winning side. Perhaps this in itself will help to further discourage the possibility of vexatious claims.

In addition there has been talk of introducing a fee for those who wish to make a further appeal to the EAT. The proposed amount is £400, however, this will increase to £1,200 if the case goes to a hearing. We will know for sure what is to happen in Spring of next year. The consultation period ends on 6 March 2012 and depending on which option is to be introduced the implementation dates differ.

The first option does not limit the maximum amount available should a party win their case and could if chosen be implemented in 2013. The second option, however, would require new legislation to be implemented and as such would not be introduced until 2014.

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