This focus has already seen an alteration in judging panels, from three people to just one judge hearing cases, although some cases will still have a panel of three. Our consultant Dominic Cooper said: ”The proposed changes to the tribunal system have come about because of three reasons. Firstly, by introducing fees the hope is that the cost to the taxpayer will be reduced. At £84million a year, the current bill will be subsidised by fee payments.
“Secondly, the changes aim to encourage early mediation and settlement outside of court. And thirdly, the intention is that weak or frivolous claims will be weeded from the system early, thus helping free up resources for meaningful claims.”
The proposed fees are:
• £390 for ‘Level 1’ claims (e.g. deduction of wages, or for notice and holiday pay), breaking down into £160 when issuing the claim and £230 just before the hearing
• £1,200 for more complicated ‘Level 2’ claims (e.g. more complicated unfair dismissal, or discrimination), comprising £250 when issuing and £950 before the hearing •£600 for a judge-led mediation, or just £160 for ACAS settlement before the hearing fee is incurred Dominic added: “There seems to be a loophole to the fee system, however. Claimants on low income – of which there will be many, will not have to pay the full amount.
It is proposed that in April 2013 set fees will be introduced to help standardise tribunals and encourage more disputes to be settled out of court. Three new fees are suggested in an effort to simplify the tribunal process.