Several important changes happened to Employment Tribunals at the end of July 2013. Firstly, and most importantly, Tribunal fees are being introduced. In addition, some Employment Tribunal Rules are changing and Compensatory Award limits are changing. Here we’ll run through the changes.

[Updated July 2017]

The new rules

  • A claim from an applicant will be rejected if it is not accompanied by a fee or a fee remission application (which is an application for the fee to be waived).
  • An initial ‘sift’ of all claims and responses will be made by a Judge to decide if a claim or response should be ‘struck out’ and to decide what case management orders are necessary to get the case ready for a hearing.
  • Case-management discussions and pre-hearing reviews will be combined into ‘preliminary’ hearings.  Preliminary hearings will conduct the ‘sift’ and also explore the possibility of settlement or alternative dispute resolution to avoid the case going to Tribunal.

Tribunal Fees – these were declared unlawful on 26th July 2017 and no longer apply.

(old information) From 29th July 2013 claimants will be required to pay a fee in order to lodge an Employment Tribunal claim and a further fee will be payable in order for the claim to proceed to a hearing.  Claims made on or after the 29th July will attract these new fees. Claims already in the system before this date will not attract any fees.

The following fees will apply:

From 31st January 2017, claims relating to employees of insolvent company’s, where payments are sought from the National Insurance Fund, such as redundancy payments, will no longer require a fee.

The new ET1 from that needs to be completed to make a claim is here.

Pending the legal challenge to these fees being introduced, fees must still be paid and if the legal challenge is successful the fees will be reimbursed.

From 29th July you will be able to complete a new ET1 claim form online which you can access from the Factsheet, or send the claim in by post or deliver it by hand – all the details you need are in the FactsheetEmployment Tribunals guidance from gov.uk is here and you can start the online application process here.

Changes to the Compensatory Award Limit

There is currently a cap on the compensatory award that can be awarded for a successful unfair dismissal claim of £74,200, rising to £78,335 from 6th April 2015. For any dismissal that takes effect on or after 29th July 2013 the cap on the compensatory award will be the lower of £74,200 or 52 weeks pay. A weeks pay will be based on the claimant’s annual gross salary and will not include pension contributions, benefits in kind or discretionary bonuses.

This cap will not apply to dismissals for whistle-blowing or for certain health and safety reasons. In addition there is no cap on awards for discrimination.

If you are an Employer and need ongoing professional help with any staff/freelance issues then talk to Lesley at The HR Kiosk  – a Human Resources Consultancy for small businesses – our fees are low to reflect the pressures on small businesses and you can hire us for as much time as you need.

Please note that the advice given on this website and by our Advisors is guidance only and cannot be taken as an authoritative or current interpretation of the law. It can also not be seen as specific advice for individual cases. Please also note that there are differences in legislation in Northern Ireland.