In a ruling of potentially broad impact, the Supreme Court in Britain has held that the government’s July 2013 statutory order instituting an employment tribunal fees regime is unlawful.

Background

The introduction of issue fees and hearing fees in 2013 resulted in a 66 percent fall in the number of single claimants. The fees were payable for all new employment tribunal cases issued by workers for claims. These include claims of unfair dismissal and for equal pay and for sex, age, and racial discrimination. Fees ranged from £390 to £1,200, depending on the complexity of the case.

Supreme Court Decision

The high court decided on July 26, 2017, that imposing a flat-rate fee on would-be claimants in the employment tribunal had been unlawful from the outset. It ruled that the law imposing those orders should be quashed with immediate effect.

This decision likely will impact employers nationwide. Moreover, the decision will require the Ministry of Justice to repay an estimated £27 million to thousands of individuals who have already paid fees since 2013.