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28 March 2024

The cost of justice?

James Townsend, Partner and Co-Head of Employment gave his view on the government’s proposal to reintroduce fees for claims brought in the Employment Tribunal in Catherine Baksi’s article for the Law Society Gazette, ‘Occupational Hazards’, which has been linked below with kind permission.

Since 2017 when fees were abolished, no fee has been payable for making a claim before the Employment Tribunal and the general rule remains that each party bears its own legal costs in proceedings, whether successful or not.

A recent government consultation suggests that modest fees should be reintroduced in order to reduce the heavy backlog of cases in the Tribunal systems, which continues to cause delays with the administration of justice.

Whilst some commentators have argued that re-introducing fees could go some way to easing the burden on the Tribunal system, James argues that an alternative solution might be for the Employment Tribunals to better use case management powers to root out weak or time consuming claims at an early stage. Furthermore, if re-introduced, even modest fees could creep up and impede access to justice for those who suddenly find themselves unemployed and without a regular income.

For further information, please contact James Townsend or your usual contact in the Employment Department.

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James Townsend
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