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mfg Legal Bulletin - July 2013




Changes to the Employment Tribunal System Take Effect 29th July 2013

It has recently been announced that the Employment Tribunals (Constitution and Rules of Procedure) Regulations 2013 will come into force on 29th July 2013 for all claims where the Respondent receives a copy of the claim form on or after this date and where Claimant’s wishing to submit a claim to the Tribunal will have to pay a fee.
 
In summary, some of the changes include the following:-
 
  • The Tribunal having more powers to reject claims on more bases;
  • A ‘sift stage’ will be introduced to the process of bringing an employment claim to decide what case management directions are required, to help strike out claims without reasonable prospects of success and to ensure that the claim can be heard within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal;
  • The current default judgment position will be relaxed which means that the Respondent will not automatically be penalised for failing to file the ET3 within 28 days being the prescribed timetable;
  • Case Management Discussions and Preliminary Hearings will be merged into one ‘preliminary’ hearing;
  • There will be a wider discretion for Judges to run final hearings allowing Judges to place stricter obligations on both parties to the proceedings;
  • The £20,000 cap on the costs the Tribunal can order will be removed.

The government decided to implement a two-stage fee charging structure, requiring claimants to present an "issue fee" when they submit their claim or appeal, followed by a "hearing fee" prior to a hearing. There are two levels of claim fees separated into type A and type B claims. Type A claims will tend to be low value claims and non-complex claims for example, unlawful deduction of wages. Type B claims will include all other claims such as unfair dismissal and discrimination etc.
 
The main fees for a single Claimant is set out below:

 
 FEE TYPE TYPE A CLAIMS TYPE B CLAIMS
 Issue Fee £160  £250
 Hearing Fee
£230  £950

Employment Tribunals will be able to reject a claim if it is not accompanied with the fee or a remission application. If the hearing fee is not the full amount then the Tribunal will write to the Claimant confirming a date in which this must be received by and if the payment is not received by this date, the Tribunal must reject the claim. The Tribunal will however have the discretion to reinstate the claim once the correct fee has been received at a later date.
 
Compensation Award Cap
The limit on a compensatory award in unfair dismissal cases will be capped at the lower of 52 weeks’ pay or £74,200.  The implementation date for this is not yet known given that legislation is currently before parliament.
 
This will of course lower the expectation of Claimant’s whose annual salary is well below the statutory cap.

This E-Bulletin was provided by mfg Solicitors.  If you would like to discuss any of the information contained within the article please contact Sally Morris, Partner and Head of Employment Division on 01905 734032.





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