Employment tribunal fees were introduced in July 2013 and have been the subject of controversy ever since due to the huge drop in claims now being made. (For more information and statistics relating to the drop in claims see our September 2014 blog (https://www.morrlaw.com/employment-tribunal-fees-update-2/)
Following our June 2015 blog (https://www.morrlaw.com/tribunal-fees-back-on-the-agenda/) we can confirm that the Court of Appeal has now dismissed the Unison challenge. The Judge stated that the evidence was not good enough as it showed only a decline in claims and not evidence of typical financial circumstances of individuals bringing claims. The Judge in the case did hint at the Government’s promise to review the fees regime and that the level of fees should perhaps be reviewed.
There is no news as yet on the promised Government review of the tribunal fees regime which we reported in our last blog.
In the meantime the Scottish government has this week confirmed its intention to scrap Tribunal fees in Scotland. It did not comment on the reasons for the decision merely stating that it will ‘consult on the shape of services that can best support people’s access to employment justice as part of the transfer of the powers for Employment Tribunals to Scotland’. This suggests that it may replace the current system with a new system. We will not know for some time as no changes can be made until the Scotland Bill comes into force giving Scottish Parliament increased powers. This is not expected until March 2016.
This announcement will be of interest to employers with premises in Scotland as the risk is that not only employees based in Scotland but also those working in England or Wales will be eligible to file tribunal claims, at no cost, in Scotland.
We do not know when (or whether) the Government will be revising the fees regime but it will no doubt be looking over the border with interest to see if there is a significant increase in the number of tribunal claims in Scotland after fees are abolished.
This is not the end of the story for Tribunal fees in England or Scotland, so watch this space for developments…….
If you have any legal questions arising from an employment or an employment tribunal claim, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our employment team.