Employment Tribunals (which were originally known as Industrial Tribunals) are a system of courts that have authority to deal with a number of different types of claims and disputes on matters arising between an employer and his workforce. They can award compensation for unfair dismissal up to a statutory limit, set by the Government, and in some cases, including all discrimination claims, there is no limit on how much compensation they can award.
Since July 29th 2013 a fees system has been introduced, with an unfair dismissal or discrimination claim, for example, costing a total of £1,200 to go to a hearing.
Claimants on low incomes can qualify for the fee remission scheme and certain claims fall outside the fees scheme.
In January 2017 a review of the impact of employment tribunal fees was published, with the government saying that “The fall in ET claims has been significant and much greater than originally estimated. In many cases, we consider this to be a positive outcome: more people have referred their disputes to the ACAS conciliation service. Nevertheless, there is also some evidence that some people who have been unable to resolve their disputes through conciliation have been discouraged from bringing a formal ET claim because of the requirement to pay a fee. The government has decided to take action to address these concerns. We believe that the best way to do so is to extend access to the support available under the Help with Fees scheme. Our proposals would, if implemented, set the gross monthly income threshold for a fee remission at broadly the level of someone earning the National Living Wage. Additional allowances for people living as couples and for those with children, would be maintained under our proposals. These proposals are designed to help those on low incomes and who are therefore more likely to struggle to pay the fees (i.e. those people whose income is just above the current gross monthly income threshold for a full fee remission).”
A consultation on the proposals has been launched.
The ACAS early conciliation scheme was introduced with effect from May 6th 2014. Potential claimants have to provide information to ACAS before presenting a claim allowing an opportunity for conciliation, and a certificate from ACAS must be obtained before presenting a claim to the ET.
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