Employment tribunal fees unlawful, Supreme Court rules

Luke Hutchings Luke Hutchings Partner

In a landmark decision handed down by the Supreme Court today, it has been decided that the Government’s Employment Tribunal fees regime was unlawful and also potentially discriminatory.  The panel of seven Judges, led by Lord Justice Neuberger, agreed that the claim, brought by UNISON the Public Service Union, should be successful and in doing so, overturned a the decision of the Court of Appeal.

The Judges were persuaded by evidence that following the introduction of the fee regime in 2013, claims had reduced by nearly 80% and there was an impact on access to justice for individuals, particularly at the lower paid end of the spectrum.

The Government has now committed to refunding fees paid by Claimants over the past few years, amid suggestions the total to be refunded could be as high as £32 million.  Luke Hutchings, a Partner in the employment team at Taylor Rose TTKW said, “this is a hugely significant decision which puts employees back on a much more equal footing with employers.  Access to justice should never be determined by the ability of an individual to pay, so this is welcome news.”


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