The Scottish Government has pledged, in their 2015/2016 Government Programme, to remove employment tribunal fees.
The requirement for a claimant to pay a fee to bring a tribunal claim was introduced in July 2013 and has been consistently challenged by trade unions and other employee representatives but to no avail. However, as the administration of the Tribunal system is expected to become a devolved matter, Scotland will be able to make their own arrangements on how their tribunals work. One of their first decisions is a pledge to abolish tribunal fees therefore allowing claimants to access the employment rights justice system for free once again.
There is no implementation date set for the abolition and the Government itself states that it will need to wait to see how the transfer of powers will work in practice. However, it is clear that future claimants in Scotland will not need to pay a fee – of either £390 or £1200 - to make a tribunal claim. Clearly, this will open up use of the system to those who were priced out previously because of the fee attached.
Additionally, this change is not restricted to only those who live and work in Scotland. Because of the right to file proceedings in Scotland if either party (claimant or respondent) has a link there, employees in England and Wales may be able to (and may choose to) make a claim in Scotland because they will not have to pay. Therefore, employers throughout Great Britain need to be aware that the number of tribunal claims is very likely to be on the increase.
For further clarification and how this can affect your business contact Peninsula on 0808 273 6792