Since the introduction of the Tribunal fees in 2013 employment rights activists and solicitors throughout the country have protested against them, worried they amount to a barrier to justice and attributing their introduction to the large reduction in claims being raised in the Employment Tribunal. The concern; employment laws were being breached without challenge because people could not afford to pay the fees. In addition there was an increase in claimants representing themselves in the Tribunal having to choose between raising a claim and having access to representation and advice.
Thankfully the matter of their lawfulness went before the Supreme Court this year, who issued their ruling on 26th July 2o17 in; R (on the application of Unison) v Lord Chancellor  UKSC 51. The conclusion; the fee order authorising the Tribunal fees is unlawful for effectively preventing access to justice, and has been since it’s introduction.
This has three very significant repercussions for those involved in the claim process since 2013 and those looking to be involved in the future:
Firstly; anyone who now wishes to bring a claim to the Tribunal can do so without paying a fee. Claims can be completed online and by post following the decision.
Secondly; those who brought a claim previously and paid tribunal fees for the claim will be entitled to have those fees refunded. The Government has yet to establish a refund system but will issue details on how to apply.
Finally; those who did not bring a claim due to being unable to pay the fees, or did but had their claim rejected because of non-payment, could be entitled to have their claim reinstated.
Initially all claims arising from the Supreme Court case were sisted, in order for the courts to establish how they would deal with the result. This has now been lifted and only those cases which relate to the reinstatement of cases not brought due to fees; or the reimbursement of fees, await arrangements which are to be announced by the Ministry of Justice and Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service. These arrangements are expected to be delivered in September 2017.
Latta & Co Solicitors are committed to offering advice and assistance to those affected by the above. If you are looking to bring an employment claim; have brought a claim previously and need advice on how to obtain a refund; or need advice on how to have your case reinstated, please contact us as soon as possible to arrange a consultation.
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