Union’s challenge to tribunal fees proceeds to Court of Appeal

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The trades union, Unison, has been granted permission to proceed to the Court of Appeal in respect of its challenge to employment tribunal fees.

Unison lodged judicial review proceedings against employment tribunal fees on the basis that they would deny workers the opportunity to enforce European employment rights in UK courts and would put certain groups who earned less, such as women, at a certain disadvantage when compared with other groups.

Unison’s challenge was rejected by the High Court in February 2014 on the basis that the proceedings were “premature” in that Unison did not have sufficient evidence to back up its claims that fees, amongst other things, disproportionately affected certain groups. However, on 19 May 2014, the Court of Appeal decided that the issue was of “sufficient general importance” and granted Unison’s application to appeal.

Employment tribunal fees were introduced in July 2013. Initially, the effects were difficult to determine but, as we reported in our March blog, recent Ministry of Justice statistics suggest tribunal claims have fallen by around 79%. The next set of tribunal statistics, showing the number of claims made in January to March 2014, will be published in June 2014 and will be carefully scrutinised to see if this trend continues.

It is unclear at this time when the Union’s appeal will be listed. However, as soon as we have a date we will be sure to update you on this blog where we will also be publishing the tribunal statistics.

If you have any questions in relation to employment tribunal fees, Unison’s appeal or employment law in general, please do not hesitate to contact Laurence O’Neill on 01483 215 355 or [email protected] or the Employment Team generally on 01737 85 4500.


Although correct at the time of publication, the contents of this newsletter/blog are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute, legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article. Please contact us for the latest legal position.

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