Supreme Court rules that employment tribunal fees are unlawful

Published: 1 August 2017

Category: News

The Supreme Court has ruled that Employment Tribunal fees are unlawful.

The Government responded immediately to say that it would scrap the fees and offer refunds to past claimants.

The fees had proved controversial since they were introduced in 2013, with employees having to pay up to £1,200 to bring a claim.

A report by the House of Commons Justice Committee said the introduction of fees led to a drop of more than 70% in the number of cases brought.

The union Unison challenged the imposition of fees claiming they denied workers access to justice. They lost the case in the High Court and the Court of Appeal but the Supreme Court ruled in their favour.

It held that the fees were discriminatory. unlawful and unconstitutional.

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 Supreme Court recognised the important role fees can play, but ruled that we have not struck the right balance in this case.

We will take immediate steps to stop charging fees in Employment tribunals and put in place arrangements to refund those who have paid. We will also further consider the detail of the Judgment.

It is thought the ruling could lead to a surge in Employment claims over the coming months.

Please contact Matthew Sigsworth in our Dispute Resolution Team if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of Employment Law.