Tribunal fees – down but not out?
On 27th July 2017 the Supreme Court ruled employment Tribunal fees (introduced in July 2017) as unlawful. It was persuaded by UNISON that the fees prevented thousands of employees from getting justice (particularly those of low income). UNISON also argued that the fees breached EU laws of effectiveness and were indirectly discriminatory.
The decision was reported as “humiliating” for the Government and a swift about turn in legislation was implemented to remove the requirement for fees (and reimburse those who had already paid them).
In a statement following the Judgment, Justice Minister Dominic Raab said: “In setting Employment Tribunal fees, the Government has to consider access to justice, the costs of litigation, and how we fund the Tribunals. The Government believed that users of public services should contribute towards the services as it was unfair for those who did not access the services to have to contribute. It stated that the ability of Claimants on low income to access fee remission balanced the arguments about barriers to access to justice.”
It would appear the Government has not given up on its beliefs and Permanent Secretary, Richard Heaton, has recently confirmed that the Ministry of Justice may reintroduce fees for Employment Tribunal claims. He has told the Commons Justice Committee he can see a scheme working that is both progressive and allows people out of paying fees where they can’t afford to.
Wasn’t that supposed to have happened last time round?
Watch this space…