EMPLOYMENT TRIBUNAL FEES SCRAPPED
AFTER SUPREME COURT RULING
After two failed attempts in its dogged fight to obtain justice, the Trade Union UNISON was finally vindicated in its crusade against the fees, which were introduced four years ago.
The ruling by a panel of seven justices, headed by the Court?s President, Lord Neuberger, came after the Union had suffered setbacks in the High Court and Court of Appeal.
The Supreme Court said it based its conclusion on the fact that fees were ?inconsistent with access to justice? and had resulted in a substantial fall in the number of claims being brought, a 70% drop since they introduced in 2013.
In the main judgement, the Supreme Court highlighted the contrast between the level of fees in the tribunal, and the small claims court (where it is very much cheaper to bring a claim for a small sum of money).
WHAT HAPPENS NOW?
The Employment Tribunals have already put an end to the charging of the fees, of course and are busily updating their IT systems to remove the payment system.
In addition, the Government need to move quickly to refund up to ?32 million of fees to claimants which have been unlawfully charged according to the Supreme Court?s decision.
However, it is unlikely that Tribunal fees will be abolished entirely. More likely, it is probable that the Government will commence a new consultation process with a view to agreeing a new regime with fees at a lower level in line with the civil courts and possibly involving a fee payable by the employer to respond to the claimant?s claim form.
Whilst potential claimants and employment lawyers see this as great news, the company point of view was less welcoming with many fearing that the floodgates would open record numbers of claims.
More news will follow on how you can go about reclaiming any fees you have paid in Employment Tribunals.
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