The Law Society has urged the government to scrap employment tribunal fees as part of a wider overhaul of the system. Chancery Lane points out that since the introduction of fees in July 2013 the number of disputes has ‘collapsed by over 60%’.
‘The £1,200 that a claimant must pay for most types of cases is close to the average monthly salary, putting the tribunal well beyond the reach on many people, particularly those on lower incomes,’ commented Law Society president Jonathan Smithers. ‘This could mean that bad employers are less likely to face challenge. Employment tribunal fees have widened the gap in the “two nation justice system” identified by the Lord Chancellor.’ Employment tribunals needed to ‘work for employers and employees’, he added. The MoJ is presently conducting a review of the fees.
- You can read the Law Society proposals here.
Chancery Lane is making the case for a new employment tribunal system, where:
- Claims would be dealt with ‘flexibly, depending on their intricacy and the financial stakes involved’;
- All employment law disputes would be dealt with in ‘a single jurisdiction consisting of four levels’;
- Simple cases, such as handling unpaid wages claims would be dealt with on ‘a paper basis’ in level 1;
- More complex cases, such as multi-strand discrimination cases, would be heard by an experienced judge in level 4; and
- ADR ‘exit points’ would be available throughout.
‘Our proposed system would be easy for the public to use, as there would be a single entry point, and make sure that cases are dealt with in the most appropriate way. The single jurisdiction would increase awareness of different types of alternative dispute resolution methods, including the benefits of solving the dispute before the hearing.’
Jonathan Smithers, Law Society
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