Employment Tribunal Fees Regime Update

tribunal fees abolished

Unison’s second judicial review application challenging the legality of the much debated employment tribunal fees regime. Their attempt to see tribunal fees abolished has been dismissed by the High Court this morning. At this stage, written reasons have not been provided and we understand that these will follow later today.

UPDATE: Tribunal fees have been abolished as of the 27th July 2017

A previous judicial review application was dismissed by the High Court in February 2014 on the basis that the fees regime provided “‘…sufficient opportunity even for families on very modest means…’ and noted that ‘…Proceedings will be expensive but not to the extent that bringing claims will be virtually impossible or excessively difficult…’

Leave to appeal today’s decision to the Court of Appeal has been granted, and it seems likely that Unison will exercise that option. The outcome of the General Election in May 2015 may have a significant part to play in this ongoing saga, however.

At the Autumn Labour Party Conference in September 2014, Shadow Business Secretary, Chuka Umunna, announced that if successful at next summer’s General Election, his party would scrap the current employment tribunal system and replace it with “a fairer system to ensure that affordability is not a barrier to employees seeking redress in the workplace.”

Accordingly, a Labour victory next summer may still bring about an abolition of the current fees regime, whether or not Unison challenges the High Court’s decision.