Employment Tribunal Fees Scrapped

Back in July of 2017, the Supreme Court ruled that employment tribunal fees were illegal under both EU and UK law resulting in immediate scrapping of fees. 

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Employment tribunal fees were introduced in 2013 by the Government in a bid to reduce the number of spurious and malicious claims brought against employers.  The move resulted in tribunal cases plummeting by a staggering 79% over three years.

In making the ruling, the Supreme Court stated that the fees were inconsistent with access to justice, as well as contrary to the Equality Act 2010 in as much as they disproportionately affected women due to the nature of the case that a woman was likely to bring to the tribunal.

The ruling is widely anticipated to have significant impact on both employers and employees, and employers should prepare themselves for an increase in tribunal claims brought against them.  Some claimants may also be able to seek leave from the court to extend the prescribed time limit within which to bring a claim, meaning claims could be backdated.

Additionally, since then, the Ministry of Justice have confirmed that tribunal fees incurred by claimants since 2013 will be refunded.  It is unclear as yet whether employers who have had to pay the claimant’s fees as part of a judgment or settlement since that time will be able to reclaim these fees from the Government and further clarity is awaited.

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