The Scottish Government has recently announced it will abolish employment tribunal fees. Once implemented, employees and workers will be able to bring claims without this significant financial obstacle and there may be a sharp rise in claims issued.
There are some resulting concerns of “fee avoidance” in England and Wales by employees whose employers have a place of business in Scotland. The current rules regarding submission of claims state that any of a respondent's places of business in the UK can be used. Therefore more claims may be issued in Scotland against companies that have a place of business there to avoid fees, even if the employee in question worked in a different location.
The removal of fees in Scotland highlights a key difference between the Employment Tribunal system in England and Wales, and in Scotland. The recent Unison challenge to UK employment tribunal fees, on the grounds that they were discriminatory, has failed. However the UK government is reviewing the system and its report is due at the end of the year so changes to the UK system may yet result.
If you have any questions relating to this issue call Heidi Blakey, AOP Employment Counsel on 0207 549 2018.