Supreme Court has ruled Employment Tribunal fees are illegal

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

Employment Tribunal fees are unlawful because of their effects on access to justice.

During 2015 and 2016, 86,130 cases were brought to a tribunal and between 2016 and now, a total of £11.6m was paid in fees for a tribunal.

Previous claimants will be refunded £32m in fees.

Employees had to pay almost £400 to get a hearing and appeals of tribunals started at £1,200.

Now the Supreme Court said it was a ‘constitutional rights’ issue to have access to the courts after trade union Unison brought the case against the Government’s 2013 introduction of fees.

Alison Schreiber from the HR Dept Durham and Darlington said: “The Government has said they’ll be stopping charging fees very soon This is a real shock decision that not many people were expecting.

“So what does this mean for your business? The Government has now confirmed they’ll be taking ‘immediate steps’ to stop charging and setup refunds for the £32m in fees already paid.

“This will mean more employees will be more likely to take their employers to a tribunal if they feel they have a case.

“Managing the relationship with employees, especially as they leave the business, will become every more important to avoid a tribunal.”

The employment tribunal fees of £390 were introduced in 2013 and have seen a 79 per cent decrease of cases being brought.

The Acas reconciliation service said two-thirds of the employees it advised that could have gone to a tribunal didn’t do so because of the cost. The prospect of no-cost tribunals will likely see a significant increase in the number of cases.

Unison, the trade union that brought the appeal to the Supreme Court, said: “The Government is not above the law. But when ministers introduced fees, they were disregarding laws many centuries old, and showing little concern for employees seeking justice following illegal treatment at work.

Alison added: “Employment tribunal fees have always priced employees out of justice. Fairness and equality are paramount in HR and we’ve always been against the implementation of the fees. A good relationship between employer and employee prevents tribunals and managing people effectively can help.”

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