Over the last decade, we have seen the employment tribunal fee regime completely overhauled. Most recently all fees were scrapped and no fee is currently required to submit a claim. However, recent information has shown that this may still change.
In July 2013 the government made the decision to introduce fees for bringing a claim to the employment tribunal. This meant to submit a claim could cost up to a total of £1,200. This did not resonate well with individuals who were out of work and wanted to bring a claim. For many, the fees formed a barrier to being able to bring a claim.
The tribunal saw around a 75% drop in tribunal claims. As this barrier was preventing claims from being commenced by the trade union, Unison challenged the legality of the introduction of fees on the basis that it prevented access to justice. The challenge worked through the court processes until it was eventually declared unlawful by the Supreme Court on 26 July 2017.
The conservative government have indicated they would consider reintroducing them however as a result of other matters such as Brexit it would appear little has been done.
The Times newspaper produced an article of 15 June 2020 whereby it reported the Law Commission had been requested to make recommendations to the government on a reform of the tribunal fees.
It has allegedly been stated the commission had been requested to “provide recommendations for creating a coherent system for charging and updating fees in the future”. At the moment the ministry of justice has stated no decisions have been made on the reintroduction of fees.
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David Philip Harris is a recognised employment solicitor with over 10 years of experience in advising employees and employers on employment law matters. He is a frequent contributor to BBC Radio Berkshire and People Management Magazine. David has represented individual and corporate clients in the employment tribunal as well as the High Court and County Court. David is a member of The Law Society and The Employment Lawyers Association (ELA UK). To contact David, visit the Contact Us page. For media enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org.