Lawyers are at odds over the devolution of employment tribunals, with some claiming the changes could leave the Scottish system inundated with cases from the rest of the UK.

Law firm DLA Piper believes the Scottish Government's commitment to scrapping hearing fees north of the border could see claimants elsewhere "forum shopping" in a bid to save money.

However, other legal professionals claim there would be little gain for workers after paying travel and accommodation costs to have their case heard in Scotland.

The introduction of fees up to £1,200 to bring a case to a tribunal has been heavily criticised within the legal profession, with many claiming the charges are denying workers access to justice.

Figures show a substantial drop in the number of cases since the fees were introduced.

The Scottish Government has pledged to scrap the fees under new devolved powers in the Scotland Bill, but Kate Hodgkiss, head of employment at DLA Piper, claims this could impact on the volume of cases in Scotland.

This is because the Scottish tribunal system could have jurisdiction to hear cases outwith Scotland if they have a "sufficient link" to the country.

Ms Hodgkiss said: "The draft proposals have the potential to result in a substantial increase in claims from employees outside of Scotland looking to take advantage of the potentially cheaper Scottish tribunal system.

“The crucial point is that, under these new proposals, Scottish tribunals will have power to deal with any case involving an employee with a link to Scotland, including companies with offices or dealings north of the border. In short, this means that we could see a rise in cases where the connection to Scotland is tenuous at best.

"Although there are provisions for cases to be transferred, and we would expect to see cases with weak links to Scotland being transferred back to the appropriate tribunal, forum shopping could result in a significant administrative headache for the Scottish tribunal system and a potential cost burden for employers.

"In addition, a genuine concern for all parties in valid Scottish cases will be the resulting delays in dealing with cases where there is a backlog of unexpected claims that have been lodged in Scotland to simply avoid paying fees."

Despite the concerns, other lawyers argue there would be little financial benefit to those outside Scotland.

Employment law specialist Stephen Miller, of Clyde & Co, said: "If you live in Leeds and you want to bring a claim in Scotland, it's not going to be that easy to do that.

"And even if you are able to, the saving in fees would be offset by the cost of taking you and your lawyer to Scotland and paying for accommodation."

Mr Miller added that it could be worthwhile for large cases involving many claimants - such as a trade union equal pay claim - to seek to avoid fees by coming to Scotland, but for the bulk of regular claimants this would not be the case.

The Scottish Government is currently seeking views on a draft Order in Council, which is looking at the transfer of the administration of employment tribunals, currently operated by the UK Government, to the Scottish tribunals service.

A government spokeswoman said: "We are consulting on the draft Order in Council which would see the transfer of certain functions from the Employment Tribunal to the Scottish Tribunals.

"In particular we are asking for views on the definition of those cases that would heard in Scotland.

"We will listen carefully to the consultation responses and we are committed to ensuring cases are heard in the most appropriate jurisdiction and that access to justice is maintained."