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Forthcoming Legislation

Fees in the Employment Tribunal

Charging fees in the Employment Tribunal is expected to come into effect in July 2013. There will be two levels of fees depending on the type of claim involved. Parties will have to pay a separate application fee for applications, such as applying for a review of an Employment Tribunal decision. Issue fees will vary between £160.00 and £250.00 with a separate fee for a hearing which will cost either £230.00 or £950.00 depending upon the nature of the claim. This is likely to deter many Claimants from pursuing Employment Tribunal litigation. The best advice we can give you is that if you are in a position to issue a claim it might be better to do so prior to July 2013!

The Increase in Compensation Limits

The unfair dismissal compensatory award was increased with effect from 1 February 2013. The maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissals occurring on or after 1 February 2013 rose from £72,300.00 to £74,200.00. The maximum amount of a week’s pay, used to calculate statutory redundancy increased from £430.00 to £450.00.

The Proposed Abolition of Discrimination Questionnaires

Discrimination questionnaires have proved a powerful tool in rooting out discrimination and supporting discrimination claims. They are also a useful means of establishing data to support the factual basis of discrimination complaints. Following consultation with employers published on 15 May 2012, the government is proposing to abolish discrimination questionnaires. The arguments for abolishing the questionnaires include the fact that employers see no value in them and collating the information for them is onerous. This does seem very one sided. Of course employers are going to object to any process which assists a disgruntled employee and involves work on their part. The government has somewhat boldly stated on its website thatthe questionnaire procedure was intended to increase pre-hearing settlements and reduce Tribunal caseloads, but it has not had this effect.Although this is certainly a desirable effect, it is not clear on what basis the government believes it was theintendedeffect of the questionnaire procedure. Whilst the government is keen on streamlining Employment Tribunal procedure, this may be seen as a further denigration of employment rights.