Employment Tribunal Funding needed now more than ever
Since the introduction of upfront fees in July 2013 we all know there has been a significant decline in the number of claims being submitted for tribunal. Recently published figures from the Ministry of Justice show that the number of claims raised between January 2015 and March 2015 was just 20,333. This drop is in complete contrast to claims raised during the same period in 2013 which was 63,715. These figures highlight the serious impact fees have had with claimants getting access to justice and the need for employment tribunal funding.
The previous coalition Government made a commitment to review the fees when they were introduced. On the 11th June 2015, the Conservative majority Government announced that the review of these fees will now start and will consider whether their introduction has met the original objectives at the same time as maintaining access to justice reducing the need for employment tribunal funding. The objectives were:
- Transfer some of the cost of the service from the taxpayer to those using it
- Encourage alternative dispute resolution
- Allowing the public to have access to justice without employment tribunal funding
- Improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the tribunal service
Review of the system will be completed with reference to a variety of evidence gathered through data and research. It will consider the take up of alternative dispute resolution services, such as the number of people using ACAS’s conciliation services. It will also consider the overall volume of claims received and how cases progress in Employment Tribunals and the need for employment tribunal funding. Data on fee remissions including applications made, applications granted and applications refused will also be evaluated.
The review will also look at financial information, such as income received from fees, the implementation costs and the cost burden in setting up a system to charge and collect the fees and savings delivered. The employment tribunal funding option will be a major factor with the review as at the minute this is the only way to get access to justice for those who do not have the funds to hand.
No timetable has been set for the completion of the review or what the findings will recommend but the Ministry of Justice have stated that it is expected to be completed by the end of 2015.
In the meantime the all-important question of access to justice and the hurdle for claimants of having to pay fees to submit a claim is still there. This is where Acasta Europe can really help. More and more employment solicitors are signing up to our tribunal insurance and employment tribunal funding fees facility. It is specifically designed to take away the initial burden of cost for the claimant in bringing forward a tribunal claim without them having a risk. They can then be secure in the knowledge that protection is there for unsuccessful claims for initial tribunal fees, counsel’s fees, an expert report and even an adverse cost decision awarded against them. The policies are created by using our simple online portal which has complete delegated authority for solicitors so they can get clients covered within minutes!
For further information or to contact Acasta Europe Ltd, click here.
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