Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Employment Tribunals Hit a Record High

More than 92,000 people bought forward workplace disputes last year - the highest number since employment tribunal fees were introduced.

Since fees were introduced in 2013, a record number of people have sought to resolve disputes either through tribunals or conciliation, dramatically changed how workplace disputes are resolved.

Following publication of the latest figures ministers have published proposals to expand the ‘Help with Fees’ scheme which waives fees for the lowest paid. Proposals would see the monthly threshold for full fee remission increase from £1,085 to £1,250 - broadly the equivalent of someone earning the National Living Wage. There are additional allowances for people living as couples and those with children.

Justice Minister Sir Oliver Heald said: “It is right that those who can afford to should contribute to the cost of Employment Tribunals. Under our reforms, record numbers are bringing forward disputes in tribunals or through the ACAS conciliation service.

Costs should not prevent anyone bringing claims, so we are extending our Help with Fees Scheme and will introduce a Green Paper on further legal support measures.

The Prison and Courts Bill will also bring more people online, making it even simpler and easier to access justice.

Under the extended Help with Fees scheme, more people would not pay a fee and others would contribute less than under current arrangements. The extended scheme would benefit the disabled, women, BAME individuals, and the young, who all feature disproportionately among low income groups.

We have also decided to exempt from fees a small number of proceedings related to payments made from the National Insurance Fund, as in most cases the applicant is unable to conciliate or recover fees.”

Ministers will bring forward further plans to improve legal support in a Green Paper by early 2018, while the Prison and Courts Bill, due to be published shortly, will make it simpler to access justice and enable thousands more people to bring cases online.

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