Prospective claimants would be charged a fee of £150-£250 to begin a claim plus £250-£1250 for a hearing, where there is no limit on the maximum award.

Where the maximum award is limited to £30,000, claimants would be charged a single fee of £200-£600. They would have an option of paying an additional fee of £1,750 where they sought an award above this amount.

The unsuccessful party would bear the cost of the fees. Fee waivers would be available in certain circumstances, for example, people on benefits, couples whose income is less than £18,000, or couples with two children whose income is less than £23,860. Justice Minister Jonathan Djanogly said the proposals would save the taxpayer £84m.

The consultation, ‘Charging Fees in Employment Tribunals and the Employment Appeal Tribunal’, ends on 6 March 2012 and the fees are due to be introduced after 2013-2014.