High fees are deterring employees from taking their case to an employment tribunal, according to poll

At least four in five potential claimants with an employee-related case are being deterred from taking their claim to an employment tribunal by the level of fee they would face. This is according to Citizens Advice, which provides free advice to its users, which polled 361 of its clients.

The current fees for using the tribunal were introduced in July 2013. Current fees are set at £390 for type-A cases (such as unpaid wages or notice pay) and £1,200 for type-B cases such as unfair dismissal or discrimination. Claimants on benefits or low incomes can claim remission.

The fees were increased by the government in an attempt to stop people using the tribunal without reasonable cause and to help fund the tribunal system.

Citizens Advice says, however, that people with legitimate cases are being denied access to justice. The organisation notes that the number of cases won by claimants has actually fallen in the past two years to below 60 per cent, suggesting that fees may have had a bigger impact on strong cases than weak ones.

The advice service has called for the government to commission research into the number of spurious claims and what can be done to deter them. The report said: “Currently the system is imbalanced against claimants, and balance cannot be properly struck without knowing what puts off weak and genuine claims.”

The High Court last month rejected a challenge from trade union Unison, in effect because the union could not produce sufficient evidence to show that fees are making it more difficult to bring cases to tribunal. Unison has said it will appeal.

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