An open letter signed by more than 400 barristers and 40 QCs has condemned the government for increasing the fees of employment tribunals.
Under the reforms claimants have to pay £160 to begin proceedings, and £230 for a tribunal hearing for basic claims. Those challenging unfair dismissal, sexual or racial discrimination in the workplace, or sackings face greater charges.Claimants have to pay £250 to lodge a claim and a further £950 for a hearing.
The number of employment tribunals held have fallen sharply since the introduction of reforms from the Ministry of Justice. The reforms, designed to save millions, has led to a reduction in the number of cases by over 60%, with costs rising to up to £1,200 on average.
The reforms, which were introduced in July 2013, were deemed to a be “a barrier to justice” according to the open letter from barristers.
The open letter stated: “We do not think that the current level of fees can be justified by the suggestion – repeatedly made by the media, politicians and others – that prior to July 2013 a significant percentage of employment tribunal claims were vexatious.
"The introduction of fees has had no discernible impact on the outcome of cases. This must mean that meritorious claims are not being pursued because of the fees regime.”
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