Employment Tribunal fees have been ruled unlawful and the government will have to repay up to £32M to claimants.
When the fees were introduced by the government in 2013, the idea was to cut the number of malicious and weak cases. Since that time there has been a long-term reduction in claims accepted by Employment Tribunals of 66-70%. The trade union Unison said the employment tribunal fees prevented claimants accessing justice. The government’s response was that it would take steps to stop charging and refund payments.
Employment tribunal fees – Supreme Court ruling
The Supreme Court ruled the government’s actions at the time the fees were introduced were unlawful and unconstitutional. The government has already made a voluntary commitment to reimburse the fees, which have raised about £32M.
In their ruling, the court said: “A significant number of people have found the fees unaffordable”.
Unison General Secretary Dave Prentis said: “ The Government is not above the law, but when ministers introduced fees they were disregarding laws many centuries old, and showing little concern for employees seeking justice following illegal treatment at work”.
“The Government has been acting unlawfully, and has been proven wrong – not just on simple economies, but on constitutional law and basic fairness too.”
“This is great news for employees who will no longer be prevented from seeking justice by tribunal fees” comments Carter Lemon Camerons’ employment specialist Kate Boguslawska. “It will however have a dire impact on employers’, she continues, “in situations where fees are no longer an issue, we can expect a number of employees lodging tribunal claims for negotiation purposes. For this reason, it is even more important than ever before that employers adhere to employment laws and ensure that all the relevant procedures are in place. Failure to follow good employment practice may be very costly.”
Employment advice from City solicitors
Our employment solicitors provide practical, day-to-day support covering the full range of employment law issues from recruitment and employee incentive schemes to dismissal and risk management. Our team also has in-depth experience advising on employment issues and representation in the Employment Tribunal.
Contact our lawyers in Carter Lemon Camerons Solicitors for advice on employment matters. The specialist team at Carter Lemon Camerons Solicitors can assist you with all employment-related matters including unfair dismissal. Our years of expertise in these areas mean that we can provide tailored solutions for your business, making sure that you are in the best possible position to defend potential claims. For more details, please contact Kate Boguslawska or Andrew Firman, partners in our employment team at Carter Lemon Cameron or call +44 (0) 20 7406 1018.