TRIBUNAL FEES UNLAWFUL
The Supreme Court has ruled that Employment Tribunal fees are unlawful. So how could this affect you? Christine Hart, Head of Employment Law at KBL advises
The Supreme Court has recently issued the outcome of the appeal pursued by Unison, which argued that the Employment Tribunal fee regime acted as a barrier to justice.
The held that the Employment Tribunals and the Employment Appeal Tribunals Fees Order 2013 is unlawful and will be quashed immediately.
The regime, which required those pursuing claims to pay a fee, led to a 70 per cent drop in claims issued in the Tribunal.
What does this mean?
Tribunals are no longer accepting fee payments where claims are issued in person, and it is likely that the online claim system will be updated to remove the need to pay.
In light of this, an increase in Employment Tribunal claims is expected as is an increase in unfair dismissal claims as the fee will no longer act as a deterrent.
What will happen next?
It is likely that the Government will seek to introduce an alternative, more workable system. This may mean a lower fee or a more accessible remission scheme.
All fees paid under the regime will be refunded – an arduous task as in many circumstances employers were ordered to reimburse employees for fees paid. It is estimated that over £27 million pounds will need to be refunded.
Consideration is also being given to whether employees previously deterred from pursuing claims will now be permitted to issue a claim even though the limitation period has expired.
Should you wish to discuss how the changes may affect you or your business directly contact Christine Hart, Head of Employment Law on 01204 527777.
KBL Solicitors LLP
12 Cunningham Court, Blackburn BB1 2QX