Fees in employment tribunals unfair to workers!
The coalition Government’s money-saving proposals to introduce fees for claimants in employment tribunals are set to fail, according to expert legal opinion.
Members of the Employment Lawyers Association, who represent specialist employment solicitors and barristers, met recently to examine the charging options contained in the Ministry of Justice’s consultation document. Paul Statham from Pattinson and Brewer co-authored the report, and has now produced a full response to the proposals in conjunction with Head of Employment, Binder Bansel, on the Pattinson and Brewer blog site My legal opinions.
Paul was also asked to produce an article for HR Director magazine examining the likely impact of the proposed changes, which will be published on the 14th.May. Paul said “I am gravely concerned that in future employees who are pursuing a claim will have to meet very high fees, which seems inherently unfair as currently the process is free. What incentive would there be for people who have already lost their jobs to spend money in fighting for their rights? Employers with greater assets will inevitably have the advantage when defending a case.”
Binder Bansel, Head of Employment Law at Pattinson and Brewer, warns “The proposals are unlikely to achieve the Government’s stated aim of reducing the number of employment tribunal claims. This would require a sea change in attitudes, employers would have to be forced to engage more directly and openly with their staff, and the law would have to be simplified. The inherent imbalance in the bargaining power between employers and employees means that litigation is, in some cases, the only way employees can protect their rights.”
Claimants will need experienced guidance to assess the fees they should pay in the event of a claim. But, with law centres and citizen advice bureaux under pressure from reduced funding and government proposals to withdraw legal assistance in employment cases, claimants will have nowhere to turn for the advice they need. This is intrinsically unfair and effectively puts a deterrent financial barrier between them and their rights to representation and a fair investigation of a claim. There is no such barrier for employers.
EDITORS NOTES: HR Director magazine will publish an in-depth article on the issues raised above on the 14th. May, 2012.
Pattinson & Brewer is a leading claimant personal injury and employment law firm – founded in 1890 – with offices in London, Bristol and York. They have a strong reputation as one of the leading UK law firms acting on behalf of members of the public and union members in accident and industrial claims, Employment disputes and Medical Accidents.
Contacts :Binder Bansell Employment Direct Tel: 020 7336 4973 firstname.lastname@example.org
Pattinson & Brewer media relations: Denise Kitchener
(W): 020 7400 5135
(F): 020 7400 5101
If Denise is unavailable: Chris Theobald
(W): 0115 9140331