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Employment tribunal fees could be 'looked at again', admits justice minister

Justice minister, Helen Grant (pictured), has hinted at the possibility of employment tribunal fees being dropped.

Yesterday saw the start of employment tribunal fees. Under the new structure claimants will have to pay a fee on issue of the claim and before the hearing.

Simple claims such as unlawful deductions from wages will attract a fee of £160 for issue and £230 for the hearing. More complex claims such as unfair dismissal and discrimination will attract fees of £250 for issue and £950 for the hearing.

However, last night Grant admitted the fees could be "looked at again" if they prove to be unjust and unfair.

"It's important to remember too that these are new fees we have committed, that we will monitor the impact very, very carefully on women and other individuals with protected characteristics to ensure that justice and fairness is done. And if it is not done of course we will look at it again," said Grant.

Fees welcomed

Employers' organisation the CBI welcomed the fees, saying they were a good way of "weeding out weak claims".

"Fear of the costs of fighting a tribunal - even when you are in the right - is a massive confidence killer. With firms and employees waiting over a year for a tribunal at the moment, something has to be done to speed things up," the CBI added.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) also came out in favour of the fees. Its national chairman John Allan said they will help "curb vexatious claims".

"For some employees, an employment tribunal can be seen as a no cost option," said Allan.

"The FSB hopes the introduction of fees will curb the number of speculative claims, help reduce the perceived risk of taking on staff and provide a fairer balance for both small business employers and employees."