NEWS: Supreme Court rules employment tribunal fees unlawful
In July 2017, in an action brought by the union ‘Unison’, the Supreme Court held that the legislation which required employees to pay up to £1,200 was unlawful on the grounds that it prevented access to justice and was unlawful under EU law.
It was almost certainly also discriminatory in that the fees were not a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.
In a judgment which sums up a history of English law starting with the rights to access to justice enshrined in Magna Carta in 1215, the Supreme Court found that the government’s Employment Tribunal fees regime had been unlawful from the very start, which means that as of today, it is as if the law was never passed by parliament.
What does this mean for Employees?
…who have already filed a claim?
For employees who have brought claims already and paid the fees, the government will now have to pay those fees back. An estimated £32million of fees have been collected and every penny must now be paid back. The government will have to set up a compensation scheme so watch this space for further details.
…who are about to file a claim?
If you are about to present a claim, gov.uk states on its website that ‘you do not have to pay a fee to make a claim to the Employment Tribunal, even if it says so on the form.’
What will happen now?
The government has some work to do in order fully to implement the Supreme Court’s findings about Employment Tribunal fees and to bring all its related literature and forms up to date. However, if you want further information or clarification, then we suggest that you get in touch with the Employment Tribunal Customer Contact Centre in the first instance. (For contact details, see the gov.uk website item on ‘Make a claim to an employment tribunal’.)
We will be updating the Employment Tribunal information and advice on our website as more information becomes available.