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LOW INCOME FAMILIES CAN AVOID EMPLOYMENT TRIBUNAL FEES

By Stephen Smith, Employment Lawyer

A NEW REBATE scheme means many people who have valid Employment Tribunal claims will not have to pay a fee to start their case.

The UK Justice department has made it mandatory for all claims to be accompanied by a fee of either £160 for smaller claims or £250 for more complex ones, such as discrimination or unfair dismissal.

That has to be followed with payments of £230 and £950 respectively before the case is given a hearing.

But details have also been announced of a remission scheme, which will mean that those who are on certain benefits or in receipt of a low income will either pay nothing or a small percentage of the full amount.

Under the scheme there are three ways fee remission can be claimed:

  • If the claimant receives certain benefits,
  • If the claimant’s gross annual income, including their partner’s income, is less than £18,000 (or £20,930 if they have a child),  or
  • If the claimant has a net income per month of less than £50, after deducting all living costs.

However, the new Employment Tribunal rules mean that an application  for the remission scheme has to be made at the same time as a Tribunal claim is being made. If not, the Employment Tribunal will reject the claim, which could lead to problems with the case becoming “timebarred”.

It will be up to individual Tribunal judges to decide if a claimant has the fee reimbursed to them by their employer.

*The Glasgow Law Practice advises employers and employees on claims under the new rules introduced in July 2013. Contact ss@theglasgowlawpractice.co.uk