Access to representation among citizens is an important part of the legal system in any civilised country. Some commentators have been raising questions about the way that legal aid will be allocated in the future, but for many the changes to other aspects of the system are of equal concern.
Employment Law is something that many people can find themselves dealing with at some point in their working lives. The system for dealing with disputes arising from situations in the workplace can have long lasting effects for those who come into contact with it, not only in financial terms but also in the way that whole careers can be affected.
If a disagreement between an employer and an employee cannot be resolved through workplace procedures, the matter often ends up being considered by an Employment Tribunal, also known as an ET.
Whether the matter revolves around a claim for unfair dismissal, discrimination or other work related disputes, the tribunal system has built up a reputation for dealing with both sides fairly.
However, the introduction of fees into the system from July this year has set alarm bells ringing for many involved in the process.
The Employment Tribunals and the Employment Appeal Tribunal Fees Order 2013 have brought in new fees which must be paid when a claim is presented to an Employment Tribunal. With a minimum figure of £160, many people think that it could adversely affect the access of workers to a fair hearing.
It could cost up to £950 for an individual taking a dismissal case to a hearing and for groups of workers the scale goes right up to £5,700.
Lawyers have failed in their attempt to block the introduction of these fees, but the fight goes on. A hearing has been set to consider the legality of the UK Department of Justice’s move to introduce these fees and if the Government loses the case it has already agreed to reimburse any fees paid in Scotland, England and Wales.
In the meantime however, it means that any claim that goes before a tribunal is even more in need of accurate and professional legal advice.
The basic idea behind the introduction of a fee is to discourage claims that employers think are spurious and are costing companies too much in time and resources. However, there is also the chance that workers with a solid case could be discouraged from taking action.
Employment can be a difficult topic of law to get your head around, so if you want more information on recent changes or developments then it is advisable to contact a professional service. Firms such as The Co-operative are experts in Employment Law and offer legal advice and assistance to those in need.
This is a guest post for TheEmployable