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Law on unfair dismissal set to change


Lawdit Solicitors - Expert Author

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14 December 2011

The qualifying period for bringing an unfair dismissal claim against employers is set to rise to two years, potential claimants will also have to pay fees if they plan to bring cases to court.

In October this year the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osbourne, gave details of the changes at the conservative party conference. The new plans are apparently a demonstration of the government's intent to cut the burden of red tape on businesses and thereby help create more jobs.

The main proposals are:

- The qualifying period for an unfair dismissal claim will rise from one to two years from the 1st of April 2012.

- An upfront fee of 250 is payable when lodging a claim, a further fee of 1000 if the claim is accepted into the system. And potentially higher fees for claims of more than 30,000. Fees will however be refunded if a claimant wins their case.

Employers bodies such as the CBI (Britain's top business lobbying organisation) welcome the proposals and see the extension of the qualifying period as a positive step that will give smaller businesses more confidence to hire and expand.

On the other hand the "voice of Britain at work", the TUC, stated the fees will in particular affect low paid workers. According to a survey of employment tribunal applicants carried out in 2008, nearly 70% of claimants had average or below average earnings and 35% earned less than 15,000.

The introduction of the fees may make trade unions think twice before funding a potential claim and may even deter many would-be claimants from making a claim at all. As the government plans to cut the legal aid budget it remains to be seen how the government plans to help claimants that cannot afford lodgement and legal fees, as the likelihood is that many dismissed staff will not have the finances to bring a claim.

If you have an employment issue, then contact our Enployment Department and speak to one of our solicitors who will be happy to assist you.

Rehana Ali is a Paralegal at Lawdit Solicitors, who assists Inam Ali, a Solicitor specialising in Commercial and Intellectual Property Law. Both can be contacted via email:

About the Author

Lawdit Solicitors offer services and advice for litigation, commercial contracts, Intellectual Property and IT legal agreements. We are experts in commercial law with a heavy emphasis on Intellectual Property, Internet and e-commerce law. Lawdit is a member of the International Trademark Association, the Solicitors' Association of Higher Court Advocates and we are the appointed Solicitors to the largest webdesign association in the world, the United Kingdom Website Designers Association.

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2012-02-07 14:40:20 in Legal Articles

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