County Court Fees
County court fees
From April 22, 2014, fees for applications to the county court have increased significantly. The fees are assessed according to the value of the claim. For example, a claim worth between £3000 and £5000 incurs a fee of £205 (an increase from £120). Claims worth from £5000 to £15,000 now cost £455 (an increase from £245).
From the point of view of the employment lawyer, the main significance of these increases relates to the decision whether or not to use the employment tribunal or the county court in claims, for example, for unpaid wages or breach of contract, which can be categorised as money claims.
For example, an employee who is owed £6000 in unpaid wages will face a fee of £455 to start proceedings in the county court. In the employment tribunal, the fee is £160. The difference is stark.
For less valuable claims (up to £3000) the county court remains the cheaper option. It must also be borne in mind that the employment tribunal has no enforcement powers. Many awards of compensation made by employment tribunals are not paid by employers. The successful claimant then has to proceed though the county court enforcement procedure. Where the claim is started in the county court, this transfer is not necessary.
Employment lawyers now have to deal not only with the increasingly complex law and procedure related to claims. Cash calculations and projections are an increasingly significant part of their role.