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20 December 2017
After a brief pilot scheme, the full scheme for refunding employment tribunal fees is now open for use by both claimants and respondents.
The need to refund employment tribunal fees arises from the Supreme Court's July 2017 ruling that the system for charging fees to bring an employment tribunal claim was unlawful (for further details please see "Employment tribunal fees ruled unlawful by Supreme Court"). Not only was the requirement to charge a fee to be removed immediately, but all fees already paid by users of the tribunal service since they were first introduced in July 2013 were to be refunded.
The first stage of the refund scheme involved around 1,000 people being contacted individually and given a chance to apply for a refund (for further details please see "Employment tribunal fees – refunds begin"). The government has now issued full details of what the final refund scheme involves. It can be used immediately by all claimants and respondents who have paid a fee during employment tribunal proceedings or during an appeal to the Employment Appeal Tribunal. Refunds will be processed directly to the applicant's bank account, together with 0.5% interest.
There are various ways to apply for a refund:
The form for respondents confirms that an employer that has lost a case and been ordered to repay employment tribunal fees to a claimant can now claim a direct refund. It asks employers in this situation to provide a copy of the employment tribunal's order requiring them to repay the claimant, together with proof of payment (eg, a copy of the receipt or bank statement). A refund may not be provided if an employer is unable to provide this supporting evidence.
The forms also make clear that all types of fee can be reclaimed, not just fees for issuing a claim or having a hearing, which were the subject of the Supreme Court's decision. A list of fees is set out at the end of the form, which includes fees for:
Employers that have been involved in employment tribunal proceedings in the past few years should think carefully about whether they can reclaim any fees. Even if they have not lost a case, one of these other types of fee might have been paid.
For further information on this topic please contact Michael Burd at Lewis Silkin by telephone (+44 20 7074 8000) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). The Lewis Silkin website can be accessed at www.lewissilkin.com.
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