The Supreme Court unanimously ruled today that the Government was acting unlawfully and unconstitutionally when it introduced the requirement to pay a fee in order to bring an employment tribunal claim. The Government introduced the fee regime four years ago in an effort to reduce the number of weak or malicious cases but the decision today is a challenge to that regime on the basis that it denies access to justice and is indirectly discriminatory against those bringing discrimination claims who have to pay a higher fee than other types of claim.
Head of Employment at Edwin Coe, Linky Trott commented “This decision has far reaching implications, not least because the Lord Chancellor’s Department will now have to refund all Tribunal fees paid by Claimants since the introduction of the fee regime to all claimants who brought claims before the employment tribunals since fees were introduced in July 2013. This will be complicated by the fact that successful Claimants are likely to have an order that their fees are paid back to them by the losing Respondent; if that has been paid by the Respondent, will that Respondent be able to claim a refund? It also raises the question of what will happen to those potential Claimants who did not bring a claim within the relevant time limit because they could not afford to pay the fee; will they now be granted time extensions to bring those claims?
We would advise anyone who has had to pay employment tribunal fees to speak to their legal advisors for guidance on how to reclaim these costs.”
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