Posted on 26.7.17 by Danielle Ayres
The Supreme Court has ruled that fees introduced by the Government in 2013 for those bringing Employment Tribunal cases are unlawful.
The Government introduced the fees principally to deter weak and malicious cases, but following a government review it was found the number cases taken to employment tribunals have since fallen by 70 per cent.
The decision marks the end of a 4-year fight by Unison to overturn the Government’s decision. The Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the Government was acting unlawfully and unconstitutionally when it introduced the fees, also confirming that the fees contravene both EU and UK law.
The way the fee regime is set up means that discrimination cases cost more, due to the greater complexity and time the hearings take in these cases. The Supreme Court found this was indirectly discriminatory against women because they are more likely to bring discrimination cases.
General Secretary Dave Prentis said: “The Government is not above the law, but when ministers introduced fees they were disregarding laws many centuries old, and showing little concern for employees seeking justice following illegal treatment at work.”
“The Government has been acting unlawfully, and has been proved wrong – not just on simple economics, but on constitutional law and basic fairness too.”
“It’s a major victory for employees everywhere. Unison took the case on behalf of anyone who’s ever been wronged at work, or who might be in future. Unscrupulous employers no longer have the upper hand.”
As a result of the ruling, the Government will now have to refund up to £32 million to all those who were charged for taking claims to Tribunal since July 2013, when fees were introduced by the then Lord Chancellor, Chris Grayling.
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