This week, the Ministry of Justice announced that it is commencing a consultation on the introduction of a fee of £55 which will be payable on presenting a claim to the Employment Tribunal or when lodging an appeal with the EAT (please click here for further information). It is proposed that the same fee will be payable regardless of the type of claim.

In order to address concerns in relation to those who cannot afford the fees, it is proposed that individuals will be supported by a fee remission scheme which will provide financial support to individuals on low incomes and with small savings.

The Ministry of Justice estimates that the fees could generate between £1.3 m – £1.7 m a year from 2025/2026 onwards. It is hoped that the fees may incentivise parties to settle their disputes at an early stage via Acas, however, given the low fee rate it may not have the desired impact.

As some may recall, the previous fee regime was introduced in 2013 and ended in 2017 following a Supreme Court ruling that the fees impacted access to justice. The previous regime had a significant impact on the number of cases, with a sharp decline seen following their introduction. However, fees under the previous regime were much higher as they ranged from £390 to £1,200 depending on the type of case.

The consultation is due to close on 25 March 2024 and it is suggested that, if implemented, the fees will become payable from November 2024. It will be interesting to see if the same concerns regarding access to justice are a feature of the consultation response, notwithstanding the proposed fees are set at a much lower level than before.