30 October 2015
HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has made changes to the fees remission system, which had been widely condemned as not fit for purpose.
The process of claiming fees remission has been drastically simplified, as the government has been forced to accept the original system was unfit for purpose, as outlined in a number of IER blogs and publications. You can access them here.
The new fees remission process is called “Help with Fees”, and applicants are now asked to complete a self-assessment of their eligibility. There is no longer a requirement for every applicant to submit lengthy paperwork, and bank statements and payslips.
Under the new system, HMCTS will find out from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) if an applicant is on the qualifying benefits, and whether their income makes them eligible for fees remission.
An enquiry into employment tribunal fees was launched by the Justice committee in July of this year in response to public outrage at their introduction and a drop in claims of 79 percent in their first year…
The committee asked for submissions on subjects including “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?”
The submissions deadline was officially in September but the committee is continuing to accept submissions.
The only way to remedy the injustice caused by ET fees will be to abolish them, as the Scottish government proposes to. It has said; “We… we will abolish fees for employment tribunals – ensuring that employees have a fair opportunity to have their case heard”.
The IER has collated information on the introduction of ET fees, available here.