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Scottish Government Bid to Scrap Employment Tribunal Fees

The Scottish Government has launched a bid to abolish employment tribunal fees after powers were transferred to Holyrood from Westminster.

The proposals, which were laid out in the government’s programme for 2015-16 will abolish employment tribunal fees once it is "clear on how the transfer of powers and responsibilities" The move will only occur after consultation “in the shape of services that can best support people’s access to employment justice as part of the transfer of the powers of Employment Tribunals to Scotland.”

Abolition of Employment Tribunal Fees

There has been a large call for the Scottish Government to either remove or analyse the effectiveness of employment fees in Scotland and whether they were needed. Bodies such as the Law Society of Scotland called for a review of employment tribunal fees, stating that such fees stood as “a major barrier to access justice”. Other groups such as Citizens Advice Scotland have also called for the fees to be abolished or reviewed by the Government.

According to Unison, last month the trade union lost its third case calling for a judicial review of the fees regime when its appeal to the Court of Appeal was dismissed. The trade union argued that a dramatic drop in claims had “no obvious explanation, other than the introduction of fees”. The group also spoke out of the concern regarding access to justice.

The Scottish Government had been in negotiations with Westminster on the details of the Scottish Bill, with the government aiming to gain power over employment fees. The report from the Scottish Government states “we will abolish fees for employment tribunals – ensuring that employees have a fair opportunity to have their case heard”.

The introduction of tribunal fees were opposed by many when they were introduced in July 2013  with the fees leading to many having to pay £160 for lodging a claim and £230 for a hearing for a basic employment claim. More complex level 2 fees cost £250 to lodge and £950 to hear severely restricting access to justice according to some experts.

According to the Scottish Government such amendments to the employment tribunal system “Will create a fairer country. We will promote a proper living wage, fair work and use new powers to improve the welfare system, mitigating some of the worst impacts of the UK Government’s cuts.”

Making a Claim

For many people making a claim can be a stressful and difficult ordeal with many employees opting not to take any employment action even if they are entitled to. Some believe that they will lose their job or worse if they take action. However, if you have been discriminated against, suffered harassment in the workplace due to gender, race, religion or sexual orientation, are unfairly dismissed or been overlooked for a promotion or paid less due to personal circumstances rather than ability, you have the right to make a claim.

Contact Us

If you require advice regarding making an employment claim or if you require representation during a settlement agreement, our team of solicitors can help. Contact us today using our online contact form.

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