The legality and impact of employment tribunal fees are again very much on the agenda.
On 11 June 2015 the Government announced the start of its review into the impact of fees, something it committed to doing when introducing fees in 2013. The review will also consider the effectiveness of the remission scheme, which seeks to provide fee remission for claimants on a means tested basis.
Meanwhile trade union Unison completed a hearing at the Court of Appeal yesterday in which they again challenged the lawfulness of fees. Unison’s challenge proceeds on the basis that statistics show an almost 80% reduction in the number of tribunal claims since fees were introduced. Amongst other things Unison argues that fees prevent employees enforcing their European employment rights in the UK, which would put the UK in breach of its obligations under European law. In previous hearings Unison have failed due to a lack of evidence that it is the fees, and not something else, that has caused a reduction in claims. According to the Law Society Gazette, on the first day of proceedings, Counsel acting for Unison has asked the Court of Appeal “how big a drop [in the number of claims] would be required before one can infer these fees are imposing too heavy a burden?”.
We can expect the outcome of the Government’s review by the end of the year and the Court of Appeal’s decision possibly sooner. We will keep you updated on the outcome of both via our regular blogs.
Please contact your usual adviser in the team if you have any queries on this or any other employment law matter. Click here to meet the team.