The Supreme Court has today ruled that tribunal fees in employment cases are unlawful.
The introduction of fees in 2013 saw a 70% reduction in claims, estimated to be around 200,000 cases. The intention was to reduce the number of unmeritorious claims and to encourage early settlement. However, the Supreme Court has today held that the fees prevent access to justice and are discriminatory against women.
The appeal was brought by UNISON after defeat in both the High Court and Court of Appeal and marks the end of a 4-year fight by UNISON to have tribunal fees overturned. The government will now have to pay back around £27m it has received in claimant fees.
This decision is likely to lead to a significant increase in the number of workers bringing claims against their current or former employers. However, it seems unlikely that tribunal fees will be scrapped altogether. It is more likely that fees will be significantly reduced and it may be that employers also have to pay a fee when they submit their response to a claim.
For further information or advice, please contact a member of our Employment Team