ET fees income from single claimants (wonkish)

Last week’s publication by the Ministry of Injustice of the latest set of quarterly tribunal statistics, covering October to December 2014, was in many ways a damp squib that added little to what we already know about the impact of ET fees since July 2013. ET claim/case numbers continued to bobble along at about one-third the pre-fees level, and the claim outcome percentages – which might have enabled us to pour further scorn on the assertion of Matthew Hancock and others that only weak or vexatious claims have been deterred by the fees – were rendered meaningless by the striking out of one exceptionally large multiple claimant airline case involving some 243,000 claims.

The only real cause for excitement – yes, I’m that sad – was the inclusion, for the first time, of figures on applications for and grants of fee remission (or ‘fee waivers’, as ministers have taken to calling it). From the four tables in Annex D, covering the five quarters up to September 2014, we learnt that 95 per cent of remission grants to single claimants have been for full remission, and only five per cent for partial remission. And we learnt that, while 48 per cent of the single claimants from whom the issue fee was requested applied for remission, only 21 per cent of those from whom a hearing fee was requested did so.

With a bit of work, the figures also allow us to unpack – to some extent at least – the Ministry’s previous statement that gross annual fee income is running at about £12 million, of which some £3.2 million is “foregone in remission”. Because there is enough data spread over the four tables in Annex D to construct the following table for gross and net fee income from, and remission to, single claim/cases (but not multiple claimant cases, or EAT cases) over the 12-month period October 2013 to September 2014.

Issue fee (single claims/cases)
Gross income (£) Remission (£) Net fee income (£)
Type A 619,360 102,720 516,640
Type B 3,906,250 794,000 3,112,250
Total 4,525,610 896,720 3,628,890
Hearing fee (single claims/cases)
Gross income (£) Remission (£) Net fee income (£)
Type A 286,005 25,415 260,590
Type B 3,984,775 1,312,425 2,672,350
Total 4,270,780 1,337,840 2,932,940
Total (£) 8,796,390 2,234,560 6,561,830

(NB – To arrive at these figures, I assumed that the five per cent of claimants granted partial fee remission received an average remission of 50 per cent of the relevant fee.)

From this, we can see that single claimants in the ETs contribute £8.8 million (73 per cent) of the Ministry’s gross income of £12 million, and £6.56 million (75 per cent) of the Ministry’s net income of £8.8 million. And they benefit from £2.23 million (70 per cent) of the £3.2 million foregone in fee remission. The other 25 per cent (£2.2 million) of the Ministry’s net fee income comes from claimants in multiple claimant cases, and appellants to the EAT.

We can also see that, of that £8.8 million contribution to the Ministry’s gross fee income, £7.9 million (90 per cent) comes from claimants making Type B claims (e.g. discrimination, unfair dismissal). Similarly, of the total £2.23 million foregone in remission, all but £128,000 (5.7 per cent) is granted to those making Type B claims.

Well, I think that’s interesting, and if your name’s Michael Reed I suspect you will too. However, in terms of what might happen next, it’s probably much less significant than this tweet, posted on 11 March but which I only stumbled upon today:

Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 16.04.46

Which conveys a somewhat different message to these and similar tweets by other Labour shadow ministers in recent months:

Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 16.25.14

Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 17.46.08

No wonder then, that Sadiq Khan got the following response from junior injustice minister Shailesh Vara when he raised the issue of tribunal and court fees in the House of Commons on Tuesday:

Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 08.09.31

Followed shortly after by this response from the Lord of Injustice himself, Chris Grayling:

Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 08.21.32

And then there’s former shadow attorney general Emily Thornberry, who yesterday re-iterated (during her Westminster Hall debate on equal pay) her proposal that equal pay claims be exempted from ET fees for five years – the clear implication being that she would be happy for fees to continue for other claims.

Sadly, working out what the three tweets above, and Emily Thornberry’s proposal, might tell us about the policy on ET fees of any future Labour government is beyond my tiny brain. So I’m going to bed.

2 thoughts on “ET fees income from single claimants (wonkish)

  1. I do indeed think it’s fascinating.

    I’d be very interested to know how the fee income received from singles vs multiples compares to the cost of running those cases. My guess (and it is only a guess) is that multiples don’t account for as much as 25% of the tribunal’s expenditure. But I don’t really like what that implies about any future changes to fees.

    • I thought you might! Don’t forget that the other 25% of fee income is not just multiple cases, but also EAT cases. And, while the numbers of the latter are relatively small, the fees are hefty, and that bumps up the income figure. So fee income from multiples could be as little as 10% of the total.

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