Employment Tribunal Fees Ruled Unlawful By The Supreme Court
In a major ruling for employers – including those of domestic and household staff – employment tribunal fees have been ruled unlawful by the UK’s Supreme Court.
Since July 2013 when the fees were introduced, the number of cases filed at employment tribunals has fallen dramatically. Since their introduction workers in the UK have been charged a fee to bring a claim to tribunal, a further fee if the claim is heard and then another fee if they appeal the decision.
However, the trade union Unison challenged the decision arguing that it was “virtually impossible or excessively difficult” for some workers to exercise their employment rights and that the fees were indirectly discriminating against some groups.
Their first appeal in the High Court failed, following that they appealed again, and then again in the Court of Appeal. However on July 26 2017 the Supreme Court handed down its judgement ruling unanimously that employment tribunal fees are unlawful.
The seven Supreme Court judges accepted that employment tribunal fees has resulted in a dramatic and persistent fall in the number of claims.
The ruling means that the Government can no longer require claimants to pay a fee to bring an employment tribunal claim, and will have to repay an estimated £32m to claimants who have already been charged a fee.