The Court of Appeal has dismissed the challenge brought by Unison against the introduction of fees in the employment tribunal and EAT (R(Unison) v Lord Chancellor).  

Whilst the court accepted that there had been a dramatic drop off in the number of claims being presented to the Tribunal, it found that Unison had not been able to show that this was because potential applicants were deterred because they couldn’t, as opposed to wouldn’t, pay. If the reality was that people chose to spend their money elsewhere, then the “access to justice” argument could not succeed.

Unison will need more evidence as to why the number of applicants has fallen so dramatically, it is not sufficient to conclude that there is an access to justice issue merely from the fact that the applications have decreased. Unison has applied to appeal to the Supreme Court, and the Ministry of Justice is currently reviewing the fees, so this is far from the end of the matter.