The Ministry of Justice paid out £2.8m in refunds between October and December 2017 following the launch of the employment tribunal refund scheme.
A total of 4,800 refund applications were received and 3,337 refund payments made following the abolition of tribunal fees on 26 July 2017.
The UK Supreme Court ruled that the fees, paid since 2013 by anyone bringing a claim against their employer, were unlawful as they could deter people from taking action, denying them their right to justice via a court or tribunal.
Charging stopped immediately and a scheme was established to enable people who had paid employment tribunal fees to claim a refund.
An inevitable consequence of the abolition of fees has been a rise in the number of claims brought to tribunal.
Between October and December last year, single claims increased by 90%. The tribunal statistics for the period show that 8,173 claims were made, compared to 4,200 during the same period in 2014/15.
The scrapping of employment tribunal fees and removal of financial barriers has undoubtedly encouraged employees to pursue claims when they might not otherwise have done so.
And with the greater threat of a tribunal, it is highly likely that there has been an increase in the number of settlement agreements, as employers attempt to resolve matters before claims are issued. ACAS statistics released today of claims between April 2017 to the end of July 2017 show this already.
Seventeen per cent of cases were successfully conciliated but 58 per cent of the balance did not progress to tribunal and only 26 per cent did.
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For details about how to claim and employment tribunal fee refund visit: www.gov.uk/employment-tribunals/refund-tribunal-fees
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