Court fees have been highly contentious since they were first introduced in July 2013. The fees were initially introduced to ease the burden of the court service on the exchequer and also prevent petty and vindictive claims.
However, since their introduction there has been an alarming drop in the number of claims, which were down by 55% after 6 months of fee introduction and 75-80% after a year. This drop is partly due to the spike in claims before fees were introduced but it cannot be possible that ¾ of tribunal claims are unfounded.
The committee aims to answer the following questions:
– How have the increased court fees and the introduction of employment tribunal fees affected access to justice? How have they affected the volume and quality of cases brought?
– How has the court fees regime affected the competitiveness of the legal services market in England and Wales, particularly in an international context?
Many employers and HR personal may be cheering about the drop in claims and in some cases they are right to. Anyone who has dealt with a malicious, drawn out, costly, bonkers or all of the above claim will rejoice that they never have to deal with a similar claim again.
But it does seem that many claims are slipping through the net. Employees who don’t get paid the minimum wage, get unfairly dismissed without notice or have unlawful deductions made from their wages often don’t have a spare £1,150 to bring a claim. For that reason it would seem the fees have created a barrier to justice.