UNISON who led the legal challenge to scrap Employment Tribunal fees, won a landmark court victory yesterday against the government – which benefits all workers.
The Supreme Court has ruled that the introduction of Employment Tribunal fees in July 2013 was unlawful.
Fees were introduced by the Government in 2013 with a view to weeding out malicious and unmeritorious cases. However, they didn’t just weed out the weak cases they stopped genuine cases as well. This resulted in most cases requiring the Claimant to pay the £1200 in fees and a 79% reduction of cases being brought forward over the last 3 years.
What does the ruling mean?
- has been treated illegally or unfairly at work will no longer have to pay to take their employers to court.
- paid the Employment Tribunal fees will be able to claim it back from the Government (BBC have reported it will cost an estimated £32 million). However, it is anticipated that rather than the fees regime being completely abolished, an alternative fees regime may be brought in.
- did not lodge claims over the last 4 years, due to the fee, may seek to issue claims now, arguing that time should be extended to allow the claim as it was not reasonably practicable for them to have done so earlier, in view of the fees regime. Whether Tribunals will allow such claims remains to be seen.