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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.

Background

About Edwin Coe

Edwin Coe LLP is a commercial law firm based in the heart of London’s historic legal district in Lincoln’s Inn. Founded in 1913, we have grown from our litigation origins to become a thriving and dynamic practice, providing a comprehensive range of legal services to meet the needs of a wide variety of businesses, individuals and organisations based throughout the UK and overseas.

The firm consists of 37 partners and is a ranked 111 in the latest edition of The Lawyer ‘UK 200’ law firms. We provide legal services to an international and UK client base which includes public and private companies, multinationals, charities and not-for-profit organisations, as well as private clients. We are a traditional, high-quality law firm providing a personalised and integrated service across a wide range of commercial practice areas.

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