Thursday 28th September 2017
As part of the Citizens Advice Exeter and The Express and Echo weekly advice column we focus on the Supreme Court decision about employment tribunal fees.
Now that employment fees have been scrapped, what does this mean for anyone thinking of bringing a case?
These changes are because the Supreme Court has decided employment tribunal fees are unlawful. The Supreme Court is the UK’s highest court. From 26 July 2017 you won’t need to pay fees to make an employment tribunal claim. If you paid employment tribunal fees in the past you’ll be able to claim them back. In the last year we have helped with 1051 enquires about employment issues, including employment tribunals.
If you’re making a claim, don’t worry if you still see some mentions of fees – it will take time for the court system to change its forms and guidance. You can ignore anything that says you need to pay. If you’re filling in a form, leave it blank anywhere it mentions fees.
You’ll be able to get back any fees you’ve paid to make an employment tribunal claim. The way to get your fees back will be announced separately. You can prepare by finding any documents that show what fees you paid. For example, look for bank statements, cheque stubs or copies of forms you sent to the employment tribunal. Also look for copies of any tribunal judgment, settlement agreement or agreement from ACAS early conciliation – called a ‘COT3 agreement’.
It might also be possible to make a late claim if you wanted to make a claim in the past 4 years, but couldn’t because of the fee. If you thought about making a claim between July 2013 and July 2017 but decided not to because of fees, you might have a chance to make a claim now. You might also be able to continue a previous claim if you started one but withdrew it because you were unable or unwilling to pay the hearing fee.
First, check the time limit for making a tribunal claim. If you’re still within the deadline you can start a claim now without paying fees. If you’ve missed the deadline, it might still be possible to make a late claim if you act quickly. You’ll have a better chance of making a late claim if you can show that the fees affected your decision to stop the original claim.
Look for evidence of your finances at the time you were thinking about the claim. Gather anything that shows your income and expenses at the time, such as bank statements, wage slips and bills. If you don’t have bank statements from the time, ask your bank if they can print out old statements for you. You might be able to do this yourself if you have internet banking.
Also try to talk to anyone you got advice from when you were first thinking about making a claim. If you got advice and told someone you’d decided not to make a claim because of fees they might have a record of your decision. For example, if you contacted us we’ll have notes from all our conversations with you. These could help show that fees stopped you making a tribunal claim. Your solicitor or trade union may have similar notes.
More information and advice is available at: www.citizensadvice.org.uk or by calling our helpline on 03444 111 444.
Look out for our column next week when we focus on problems at work.
The information contained in these articles does not constitute advice. Citizens Advice Exeter and The Express and Echo accept no liability for the information published. Citizens Advice Exeter is unable to respond to individual requests for advice through these columns. Copyright Citizens Advice. For the most up-to-date version, please visit the Citizens Advice website at www.citizensadvice.org.uk