Supreme Court Rules that Tribunal Fees are Unlawful
The Supreme Court has allowed Unison’s appeal and has held that fees for those bringing Employment Tribunal claims are unlawful, and the government will now have to repay up to £32m to claimants.
The government introduced fees in 2013 which ranged between £390 and £1,200, with the aim of cutting the number of malicious and weak claims. Discrimination cases cost more for claimants because hearings take more time and are more complex. In a separate, short judgment, Baroness Hale found that it was indirectly discriminatory to charge higher fees for discrimination cases.
According to government statistics, 79% fewer claims were brought over three years, therefore Unison claimed the fees were preventing workers from accessing justice.
Dominic Raab, Justice Minister, confirmed that the government would stop taking fees for Employment Tribunals immediately and begin the process of repaying claimants. He said that it would be down to the taxpayer to pick up the bill. Employment Tribunals are now refusing to take payments when ET1 forms are presented in person at the Tribunal offices. The online ET1 form still says that payment is required, although the website has been updated to state ‘You do not have to pay a fee to make a claim to the Employment Tribunal, even if it says so on the form’.
The question is, what about those people who did not bring a claim because of the fees? Will time be extended for those people to bring a claim?
Tribunal fees may not be abolished completely – the government may consider introducing a new fee regime consisting of either lower fees and/or a fee payable by the employer.
Call us on 01494 817193 to discuss how we can help you if you are faced with an Employment Tribunal claim and to hear about our fixed fees.