A fee regime was in place from 29th July 2013 whereby fees had to be paid upon issuing a claim before an Employment Tribunal and upon the case going to a full trial. The fee for issuing a claim was either £160 or £250, depending on the type of claim. The hearing fee was £230 or £950. On 26th July 2017 a judicial review case was heard at the Supreme Court brought on an application by Unison against the Lord Chancellor. The Supreme Court declared that fees in the Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal were unlawful, under domestic and EU law. It quashed the Employment Tribunals and the Employment Appeal Tribunal Fees Order 2013. The Supreme Court determined that the fee regime effectively prevented access to justice and was a breach of common law and constitutional rights. It was also held that it was indirectly discriminatory to have fees contrary to the Equality Act 2010.
As a result of this case all claims brought before an Employment Tribunal from now on will not incur a fee. It also means that that those Claimants that incurred fees at anytime during the four year period whilst the fee regime was in place are entitled to a refund. The detailed arrangements for recovering previously paid fees was due to be announced in September but the scheme has yet to be revealed.
There is now the potential for reinstatement of claims that were rejected by the Employment Tribunal as a result of a failure to pay the correct fee. There is also legal argument for allowing claims out of time on the basis that the Claimant could not afford to bring the claim when fees, that have now been held to be unlawful, were in place.
If you have any queries about fees or past or current claims our employment law expert, Jenny Carpenter can assist.