Fees to bring claims to Employment Tribunal – what could be the consequences?

As you may be aware the government is introducing changes to the Employment Tribunal system, which mean that from 29th July 2013, claimants will have to pay fees to bring claims to tribunal.

The idea behind this is quite clear – to try and reduce the number of spurious or malicious claims made to tribunal and we all welcome that.

Whilst this change may well deter some opportunists from claiming and will probably ensure that a few potential claims are settled before any fees become due, what about those claims that still get made.

It’s difficult to say with any degree of certainty how and if tribunal hearings will change. However, we’d be very surprised if one of the outcomes wasn’t that an adversarial environment goes up a few notches and tribunals continue their trend of becoming more and more like courts. If this is the case it will place an ever greater burden of responsibility on the employer to prove their case. 

Only time will tell, but as the deadline for the introduction of fees nears, it is more important than ever for employers to follow the correct procedures to reach reasonable and proportionate outcomes and to be able to prove through accurate notes and documentation that they have done so.

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