Users of employment tribunals will have to pay fees in future, after the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) confirmed that it would be sanctioning a change in the law to encourage businesses and their employees to use alternative dispute resolution to deal with their grievances.
At present it costs businesses and employees nothing to bring a case at an employment tribunal, with the full cost of running the service met by the tax payer.
This is something which the MoJ believes is keeping the caseload high.
The whole issue of resolving workplace disputes was put out to public consultation back in 2011. As a result of the responses received by businesses and the public, the Government has decided to reduce the amount it intends to charge.
Under the proposals there will be a 'two-tier' fee system in place next summer. A level one claim will involve judge-led mediation and will cost £600. If that claim goes on to require a full hearing there will be an additional £390 payable, which is reduced to £160 if the case is settled in advance of the hearing. A level two claim will cost £1,200 to go to a full hearing.
The Government will continue to fully fund ACAS, the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service, which offers free help and advice to businesses and employees to help them settle their grievances.
It is hoped that levying a fee to use the tribunal will encourage businesses and employees to use other forms of dispute resolution such as mediation, reserving the full tribunal for difficult to resolve cases.
Jonathan Djanoly is the Justice Minister.
"It's not fair on the taxpayer to foot the entire £84 million bill for people to escalate workplace disputes to a tribunal," he said.
"It is in everyone's interest to avoid drawn-out disputes. That's why we are encouraging quicker, simpler and cheaper alternatives like mediation," he added.
Those who cannot afford to pay the fees will enjoy a reduction under the same system that is used currently in civil law cases .