Employment tribunal fees consultation - Law Society response
At the end of January the Ministry of Justice published its long-awaited review of the impact of employment tribunal fees. It concluded that:
- users are contributing between £8.5 million and £9 million a year in fee income, in line with what we expected, transferring a proportion of the cost from the taxpayer to those who use the tribunal
- more people are now using Acas' free conciliation service than were previously using voluntary conciliation and bringing claims to the employment tribunal combined.
- Acas' conciliation service is effective in helping just under half the people who refer disputes to them avoid the need to go to the tribunal - where conciliation has not worked, most people go on to issue proceedings in the employment tribunal.
We responded by saying:
- We are disappointed that the government does not view the 70 per cent decrease in employment tribunal claims since the introduction of fees as being of greater concern, and that the review did not made a concentrated effort to explain what has happened to those who would have previously brought cases.
- It is disappointing that the review was published 18 months after the government's own initial publication deadline. During that time many vulnerable workers have not been able to enforce their employment rights, as decided by parliament.
- The proposed Help with Fees Scheme will not increase access to justice in any meaningful way.