The Government has formally announced that it will be reviewing Employment Tribunal Fees for both the Tribunal and the EAT including the remission scheme to see how successful it has been in achieving the original objectives. The review will make recommendations for any changes to the structure and level of fees, including streamlining procedures to reduce costs.
The review will look at evidence from a number of sources including the use of ACAS and the impact of mandatory early conciliation, the number of claims presented to Tribunal and the route they take as to whether they end up at a final hearing or not. There is no reference to evidence being sought from users or stakeholders by way of consultation at this stage. It will also consider data on fee remissions and the success rate and the income received from fees versus the costs including the costs of setting up the system.
There are no set timescales in the announcement but the review is expected to conclude by the end of the year. It is also noticeable that the timing of the announcement was just weeks away from when the Unison judicial review case on the issue of Tribunal fees is being heard in the Court of Appeal. You will of course remember from previous posts that the Government had said in Court that if the evidence was as striking as suggested for the downward trend in Tribunal cases it would voluntarily conduct its review. Perhaps it didn’t want to turn up at the Court of Appeal without having announced that it was falling through on its statement.
The Tribunal statistics for January to March 2015 have also been released which continue to echo the downward trend. The number of single claims received in that period was 25% down on the same period last year and also lower than the quarter before. Overall a decrease of 52% in single claims in 2014/2015 compared to 2013/2014. Tribunals also disposed of 68% fewer cases than the first quarter of 2014 so the figures continue to be startling reading but more optimistic news for employers who may view the statistics as good news for risk management.
24th June 2015