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If fees stopped you making an employment tribunal claim

This advice applies to Scotland

You no longer need to pay a fee to make an employment tribunal claim. If you thought about making a claim between July 2013 and July 2017 but decided not to because of fees, you might have a chance to make a claim now.

You might also be able to continue a previous claim if you started one but withdrew it because you were unable or unwilling to pay the hearing fee.

First, check the time limit for making a tribunal claim. If you’re still within the deadline you can start a claim now without paying fees.

If you’ve missed the deadline, it might still be possible to make a late claim if you act quickly.

Deciding whether to make a late claim

You’ll have a better chance of making a late claim if you can show that the fees affected your decision to stop the original claim.

Look for evidence of your finances at the time you were thinking about the claim. Gather anything that shows your income and expenses at the time, such as bank statements, wage slips and bills.

If you don’t have bank statements from the time, ask your bank if they can print out old statements for you. You might be able to do this yourself if you have internet banking.

Also try to talk to anyone you got advice from when you were first thinking about making a claim. If you got advice and told someone you’d decided not to make a claim because of fees they might have a record of your decision.

For example, if you visited Citizens Advice we’ll have notes from all our conversations with you. These could help show that fees stopped you making a tribunal claim.

You’ll have a better chance of being allowed a late claim if you had a strong claim to begin with. You can check how strong your claim might have been - or contact your nearest Citizens Advice to discuss this with an adviser.

Making a late claim

What you should do depends on whether you went through Acas early conciliation when you were thinking about making a tribunal claim.

It’s important to act quickly - contact your nearest Citizens Advice if you need help.

If you didn’t go through Acas early conciliation

Your first step is apply to Acas to start a free process called ‘early conciliation’. Acas will contact your employer to see if they’re willing to come to an agreement. If your employer won’t come to an agreement, Acas will give you a certificate that lets you start a tribunal claim.

If you don’t reach an agreement with early conciliation, you’ll need to start a tribunal claim. The tribunal will then decide whether to let you make your late claim. 

If you went through Acas early conciliation

When you finished early conciliation you should have been given an early conciliation certificate with a number. If you still have this number you can use it to start your tribunal claim straight away. The tribunal will then decide whether to let you make your late claim. 

If you can't find your certificate number 

Work out when you finished early conciliation. If it was in the past 6 months, you can call the Acas early conciliation line and ask them for your certificate number.

Acas early conciliation team
Telephone: 0300 123 1122
Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm
Saturday, 9am to 1pm

Calls cost up to 40p a minute from mobiles and up to 10p a minute from landlines. It should be free if you call from your mobile and have landline calls included in your contract.

If you finished early conciliation more than 6 months ago, you’ll need to apply for early conciliation again.

After a second early conciliation you’ll be able to start your tribunal claim. When you start the claim, mention that you went through early conciliation when you first thought about claiming. This will support your argument that you wanted to make a tribunal claim earlier but stopped because of fees.

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