Government response to consultation on fees for employment tribunals

Ministry of Justice

In July 2012, the Government published a response to its consultation on Charging Fees in Employment Tribunals and the Employment Appeal Tribunal:

From next summer, fees will be introduced into employment tribunals and the Employment Appeals Tribunal to encourage businesses and workers to mediate or settle a dispute rather than go to a full hearing.

By introducing fees, people using employment tribunals will start to contribute a significant proportion of the £84m cost of running the system. The aim is to reduce the taxpayer subsidy of these tribunals by transferring some of the cost to those who use the service, while protecting access to justice for all.

Two main fees will be introduced, the first payable at the issue of the claim and the second, the hearing fee, payable around four weeks prior to the hearing taking place. From summer 2013, mediation by a judge will cost £600 rather than the £750 proposed in the consultation document. This offers a considerable saving on the £1,200 it would cost to take a “level 2” claim all the way to full hearing. The lower fee to take the administratively simpler “level 1” claims to a full hearing will be £390 – which drops to just £160 if settled before the hearing fee is payable.

Fees to use the employment tribunal will be payable in advance, and most types of fee will only apply to the person bringing the claim. However the tribunal will have the power to order the unsuccessful party to reimburse the fee to the successful party. In practice, cases are often settled rather than there being a clear ‘winner’ or ‘loser’ and the issue of reimbursement would form part of the settlement.

Many people on low incomes may not be required to pay the full fees – under the same remission system which already exists for court users who pay fees to use the civil courts’ services. Following this extension of this exemption system, the Government will review its use across both courts and tribunals and publish a consultation later this year as part of a wider review required by the introduction of Universal Credit in late 2013. We would welcome your further input into this consultation. The aim will be to produce a single remissions system for courts and tribunals which is simpler to use, more cost effective and better targeted to ensure that those who can afford to pay fees do so, while continuing to provide access to the courts and tribunal system to those who cannot.

The Government received 140 responses to the consultation.

On 14 December 2011, the Ministry of Justice launched a public consultation on proposals for two alternative fee structures for employment tribunals and the fees structure to be introduced in the Employment Appeal Tribunal. The consultation closed on 6 March 2012.

Click here for details on the Ministry of Justice webste

Click here for Ministry of Justice press release (13 July 2012)

Click here for EDF response to the consultation

For further items about the introduction of employment tribunal fees and research on its impact, search for ‘tribunal fees’ in the search box in the left-hand menu.

 

EDF and other responses to equal civil marriage consultation

The EDF logo.

In June 2012, the Equality and Diversity Forum (EDF) submitted its response to the government consultation on equal civil marriage.

The Home Office consultation on equal civil marriage closed on 14 June 2012. Its key proposals are:

  • to enable same-sex couples to have a civil marriage i.e. only civil ceremonies in a register office or approved premises (like a hotel)
  • to make no changes to religious marriages. This will continue to only be legally possible between a man and a woman
  • to retain civil partnerships for same-sex couples and allow couples already in a civil partnership to convert this into a marriage
  • civil partnership registrations on religious premises will continue as is currently possible i.e. on a voluntary basis for faith groups and with no religious content
  • individuals will, for the first time, be able legally to change their gender without having to end their marriage

Click here for details of consultation

Click here for written ministerial statement by The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Equalities and Criminal Information (Lynne Featherstone)

Click here for EDF response

 

The Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) (Scotland) Regulations 2012

The Scottish Government logo

The Equality Duty Revised Draft Regulations for Scotland were approved by the Scottish Parliament and came into force on 27 May 2012.

In March 2012, the Scottish Government published the ‘Equality Duty Revised Draft Regulations Analysis of Consultation Findings’ report and its response, which included a final copy of the proposed regulations.

A consultation was carried out by the Scottish Government between September and the end of November 2011 on the Public Sector Equality Duty Revised Draft Regulations. The report presents an analysis of the consultation findings. The Scottish Government’s response to the issues raised in the consultation report includes a final copy of the proposed regulations.

Click here for report of Consultation Findings

Click here for ‘Equality Duty Revised Draft Regulations – Scottish Government Response to Consultation Findings’

Click here for The Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) (Scotland) Regulations 2012

Government responses on the Equalities Red Tape Challenge and reform of the EHRC

The Government Equalities Office (GEO) logo.

On 15 May 2012, the Government published a statement on the Equalities Red Tape Challenge by the Home Secretary and its response to the consultation on reform of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), including ‘a strong package of legislative and non-legislative reforms to clarify the commission’s remit, focussing it on those areas where it can add value because of its unique role and functions, and improve its financial and operational performance’.

The statement confirms that the review of the Public Sector Equality Duty will be brought forward and extended to include both the general and specific duties to establish whether the Duty is operating as intended.

It also announced consultations on the removal of provisions relating to:

  • employer liability for the harassment of an employee by a third party e.g. a customer;
  • the power of Tribunals to make wider recommendations in a successful discrimination case; and the statutory mechanism by which individuals can obtain information where they think an employer, or service provider, has acted unlawfully towards them.

Measures for reforming the Equality and Human Rights Commission include:

  • recruiting a new Chairman, to succeed Trevor Phillips who is standing down, and a new smaller Board;
  • conducting a comprehensive review of the EHRC’s budget;
  • implementing tighter performance and financial controls set out in a new Framework Document.

Click here for statement (pdf)

Click here for details of the Government response to the consultation ‘Building a fairer Britain: reform of the Equality and Human Rights Commission’

Click here for the consultations section of the Home Office website

Click here for response from the TUC

Click here for response from the Scottish TUC

Traveller sites: planning policy, equality impact assessment and consultation responses

Department for Communities and Local Government

In March 2012, the Government published a new planning policy for traveller sites and the final equality impact assessment for the new policy.

The Government also published a summary of responses to its public consultation on the draft new planning policy for traveller sites.

Click here for details of planning policy

Click here for details of summary of consultation responses

 

EDF response to consultation on tribunal fees

The EDF logo.

In March 2012, the Equality and Diversity Forum (EDF) submitted a response to the Ministry of Justice consultation on ‘Introducing fees in employment tribunals and Employment Appeal Tribunal’.

Click here for response

Click here for details of consultation

For further items about the introduction of employment tribunal fees and research on its impact, search for ‘tribunal fees’ in the search box in the left-hand menu.

Evidence to the Leveson Inquiry on violence against women

End Violence Against Women

On 24 January 2012, End Violence Against Women, Object, Equality Now and Eaves gave oral evidence to the Leveson Inquiry about the media’s biased and prejudicial treatment of women.

The End Violence Against Women Coalition (EVAW) made a submission to the Leveson Inquiry in December 2011, arguing that if the Inquiry ‘does not address culture, practice, ethics, standards and the public interest with regards to the reporting of violence against women, it will be incomplete’.

The Prime Minister announced the Leveson Inquiry, investigating the role of the press and police in the phone-hacking scandal, on 13 July 2011.

The Inquiry will make recommendations on the future of press regulation and governance consistent with maintaining freedom of the press and ensuring the highest ethical and professional standards.

Click here for link to EVAW submission

Click here for Guardian article on 25 January 2012

Click here for Leveson Inquiry website and click here to see videos of the Inquiry’s public hearings