Employment tribunal fees – Government report and consultation

Employment / 01 February 2017


After a considerable wait, the Government has published its ‘Review of the introduction of fees in the Employment Tribunal’.  This is the latest in a series of developments surrounding employment tribunal fees; UNISON’s appeal to the Supreme Court challenging ET fees is due to be heard on 27 and 28 March 2017.

The review suggests that the introduction of tribunal fees has broadly met its objectives:

  • Users are contributing approximately £9million a year in fee income therefore reducing the cost to the taxpayer.
  • More people are using the free Acas conciliation service.
  • Just under 50% of disputes referred to Acas are being settled without the need to go to tribunal, and where conciliation has not worked, most people go on to issue proceedings.

However, the number of people bringing claims has fallen significantly since fees were introduced.  Whilst the Government acknowledges that the introduction of fees has discouraged some people from bringing claims, it is satisfied that there are safeguards in place to ensure fees do not prevent people from doing so.

However, there is now a further consultation on proposals for modification of the ‘Help with Fees’ scheme to extend the scope of support available to people on lower incomes.  Broadly speaking, the Government is proposing to raise the income threshold at which full remission is available to £1,250 per month (based approximately on the earnings of a single person working full time on the National Living Wage).

Meanwhile, with UNISON’s judicial review appeal outstanding the current consultation may not be the last word on this matter.


The proposal for reform of the scheme is open for consultation until 14 March 2017. A link to the consultation can be found here.

We will continue to keep you updated on future developments.

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