Tribunal Fees - Judicial Review Dismissed

Not deterred by the failure of their first Judicial Review in relation to the introduction of Employment Tribunal fees, UNISON raised a second challenge in the High Court.

The High Court, however, dismissed the Judicial Review finding it was not satisfied that there was sufficient evidence that the "striking" dropping of claims since the introduction of fees was due to a Claimant's inability to pay.

The High Court pointed to there being insufficient evidence to prove that Claimants were unable rather than simply unwilling to pay Employment Tribunal fees.  The Court determined that to conclusively establish that individuals were unable to pay Employment Tribunal fees would require them to look at the income and expenditure of the individuals involved to determine whether it was "virtually impossible or excessively difficult" for Claimants to bring claims.  The High Court also indicated that it was not convinced that the statistics demonstrated that the introduction of Employment Tribunal fees placed women, ethnic minorities or the disabled at a substantial disadvantage.  Furthermore, if the High court were wrong and such groups were placed at a disadvantage it concluded that it would be in pursuit of three legitimate objectives, to transfer one third of the annual cost of running Employment Tribunals and the EAT to those users who benefit from it and can afford it, to make Tribunals more efficient and effective by removing unmeritorious claims and to encourage alternative methods of employment dispute resolution.  The High Court went on to determine that the policy of charging higher fees for certain types of claims which as a general rule used up more of the Tribunals' time and resources was legitimate and that the fee regime as a whole together with arrangements for remission was proportionate and justified.

It is understood that leave to appeal has been granted and that UNISON has announced that it will proceed with its appeal at the Court of Appeal.

UNISON's General Secretary has indicated a willingness to fight on to ensure that what he describes as "punitive fees" introduced by the Government are abolished.

Recent statistics in fact demonstrate that the most recent quarterly figures from July to September 2014 demonstrate that there were 66% fewer claims lodged than in the same period of 2013 (although fees were then payable).

Posted on: 23/12/2014

This article is for general guidance only. It provides useful information in a concise form. Action should not be taken without obtaining specific legal advice.

Back to News articles
Back to News articles

Sign up to email news

Sign up to receive email updates and regular legal news from Rollits LLP.

Sign up