It was a great victory for UNISON on Wednesday 26th July 2017 when the Supreme Court ruled that Employment Tribunal Fees were unlawful as they prevented access to justice.
The Supreme Court found that the introduction of Tribunal Fees in 2013 meant that those with limited financial means could not afford to bring genuine claims against their employer.
In more complicated cases Tribunal Fees were as much as £250 to issue the claim and another £950 to get to a final hearing, but now they have been scrapped there will be a refund from the government of up to £32 million to employees up and down the country who have previously had to pay for their own Tribunal Fees.
So where does this leave us now? Well according to a recent announcement by The Employment & Property Jurisdictional Support Team at HM Courts & Tribunals Service, the Employment Tribunal online system has now been suspended pending revision. Should you need to issue a claim now you will need to do it in hard copy to the Tribunal office, but you can do it free of charge.
Employers who have previously refused to settle genuine claims early, to see if the employee is prepared to incur the issue fee, will now have to rethink their tactics. Hopefully this will encourage early settlements, which was one of the stated aims of the original introduction of the fees.
Whether the Government will seek to reintroduce Tribunal Fees on a more proportionate basis, taking into account the Supreme Court’s criticisms, remains to be seen.
To find out more about your employment rights get in touch with one of our employment law specialists at Kidd Rapinet Solicitors today.
Update: the online service for submitting Employment Tribunal claims is now available again.