Since 2013 and until recently, claimants wishing to bring an employment tribunal claim required to pay a 'lodging fee' (at the point of submitting the claim) and then a 'hearing fee' before the claim was heard by the employment tribunal. However, in July this year, the UK Supreme Court decided that having to pay such fees to bring employment tribunal claims was unlawful.
Since that decision, claimants past and present have awaited guidance from the UK government as to how they could go about reclaiming fees that have been paid.
The first phase of the employment tribunal fee refund scheme has now been launched by the UK Government.
The Government has announced that the first stage will last up to four weeks. It is envisaged that the full scheme will be opened up in the weeks thereafter.
In addition to receiving a refund in respect of the original fee, successful applicants to the scheme will be paid interest of 0.5%, calculated from the date of the original payment until the refund date. It has been announced that further details of the scheme, including details of how it can be accessed, will be made available when the scheme is fully rolled out.
Whilst the Government will be working with trade unions who have supported large multiple claims potentially involving hundreds of claimants, the aim of the initial phase of the scheme is also to contact up to around 1,000 eligible applicants individually regarding their employment tribunal fee refund.
The Government has announced that for those who have paid employment tribunals fees, but who have not been invited to take part in the initial stage of the scheme, a pre-registration scheme is being set up so that individuals can register an interest in applying when the full scheme is rolled out.
Those who wish to do so can register either by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org; or alternatively by post to addresses set out in the Government announcement, which can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/opening-stage-of-employment-tribunal-fee-refund-scheme-launched
If you have any questions about recovery of fees, or require support on any other employment law matters, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0141 331 5150.