Fees were introduced in both the Employment Tribunals and the EAT on 29 July 2013 pursuant to the Employment Tribunals and Employment Appeal Tribunal Fees Order 2013. The introduction of fees is now the subject of multiple inquiries/reviews, namely:
- a Ministry of Justice review of the Tribunal Fees announced on 11 June 2015, which will focus on whether the original objectives of introducing fees have been met, whilst maintaining access to justice. For more information see HERE;
- the House of Commons Justice Committee is conducting an inquiry which is accepting evidence from external users until 30 September 2015. Whilst welcoming views on any aspect of the fees regime, it is particularly interested in the effect of the introduction of tribunal fees on access to justice and the volume and quality of cases brought. For more information see HERE; and
- UNISON has made two applications to the High Court for judicial review. The first was dismissed on the grounds that the challenge had been brought prematurely and lacked sufficient evidence. The second application was dismissed by the High Court in December 2014 on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence that the “striking” drop in claims since the introduction of fees was due to the inability of claimants to pay the fees. The Court held that, although the statistics demonstrated a marked effect on claimants’ willingness to bring claims, they did not prove that they were unable, as opposed to merely unwilling, to pay them. UNISON appealed to the Court of Appeal which reserved judgment on 17 June 2015.