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East Midlands Chamber News

Fees changes could deny justice to employees with a grievance

People who have a grievance against an employer may be denied justice because of new fees for employment tribunals, a firm of solicitors is warning.

Ellis-Fermor & Negus, which has offices in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, says the introduction of fees next month could mean people losing out on compensation that they might receive now because the cost of fees may be prohibitive and put them off having their day in court.

From July 29 people who want to take a claim to an employment tribunal will have to pay substantial fees for the first time since they were set up almost 50 years ago and then known as industrial tribunals.

Claimants will have to pay both an 'issue fee' at the outset and a 'hearing fee' a few weeks prior to the final hearing. If these are not paid at the appropriate time, then the claim will not be allowed to go ahead.

The new legislation distinguishes between two types of claim, known as types A and B.

Type A includes among other issues claims for unlawful deductions from wages and an employer's refusal to allow time off to care for dependants. These will incur an issue fee of £160 and a hearing fee of £230.

Fees for Type B, which includes unfair dismissal, discrimination and equal pay, rise to £250 for an issue fee and £950 for a hearing fee so a claimant would have to find £1,200 before a case could proceed.

Tim Jones, of Ellis-Fermor & Negus, which has offices in Ripley, Belper, Long Eaton and Beeston, said: “The imminent introduction of these fees is a significant incentive to workers to seek advice immediately and submit any claim before they come into force.”

It is thought that that means-tested exemptions from the fees will be available to some people, but the proposed criteria for qualifying will likely ensure that the vast majority will not be exempt.

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