Government publishes review of the introduction of tribunal fees
The Government has published its review of tribunal fees which concludes that the three original objectives for introducing fees have been met: (i) to transfer a proportion of the costs of the ETs to users; (ii) to encourage people to use alternative services to help resolve their disputes; and (iii) to protect access to justice.
The Government have also taken the view that while it is clear that fees have discouraged people from bringing claims, there is no evidence that they have prevented them from doing so and it rejected the Justice Committee’s recommendation that the overall quantum of ET fees should be substantially reduced. Nevertheless, the review did highlight some matters of concern as the fall in ET claims has been significant and much greater than originally estimated. Therefore, two key measures will be taken as follows:
First: From 31 January 2017, a fee will not be charged for three types of proceedings relating to payments from the National Insurance Fund (NIF), as conciliation is rarely a realistic option in these types of cases: (i) a redundancy payment from the NIF; (ii) complaints that the Secretary of State has failed to make any, or insufficient, payment out of the NIF; and (iii) complaints under S. 128 of the Pension Schemes Act 1993 in bankruptcy situations.
Second: An adjustment to the Help with Fees scheme is the fairest and most effective way to alleviate the impact of fees on volumes of claims and the gross monthly income threshold will be increased from £1,085 to £1,250.
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