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19 Jul 2016

Employment tribunal fees should be cut, say MPS

A group of MPs is calling for employment tribunal fees to be cut, saying that their introduction has had a “significant adverse impact” on worthy claims, the Law Gazette website reports.

The House of Commons Justice Committee recently published its long-awaited report into the effects of employment tribunal fees on the court and tribunal system. In light of the report´s findings, the group is now urging the government to significantly reduce the overall charges for bringing cases to tribunal.

In addition to this, the cross-party group of MPs think that the threshold for fee remission should be increased, and that women claiming discrimination due to pregnancy or maternity should be given greater consideration.

Issue and hearing fees for claimants in employment tribunals were introduced in July 2013. Looking at the first three months of that year - before the fees were introduced – compared with 2015 figures, sex discrimination claims have fallen by 68% and equal pay claims are down 58%.

Claiming that the research used to justify the Ministry of Justice´s fee suggestions was insufficient, the group is also calling for ministers to publish an immediate review of employment tribunal fees and to keep the fee cap for money claims at £10,000 until a full impact review has been made.

They argue that it is “unacceptable” that six months after a review into the effects of tribunal fees was due to be published, ministers are yet to share the results, noting their “tardiness” in completing a full assessment of the changes.

As commitment Chair Bob Neill MP explains, “Where there is conflict between the objectives of achieving full cost recovery and preserving access to justice, the latter must prevail.”

Meanwhile, the Law Society has welcomed the House of Commons Justice Committee´s report, expressing their concern that “punitive courts and tribunals fee increases are denying citizens and businesses the right to justice.”

“The government must now heed the views of experts from across and beyond the legal profession,” it added.

Copyright M2 Bespoke 2016

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