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On 26 July 2017, the highest Court in the UK ruled that Employment Tribunal fees were unlawful, unconstitutional and discriminatory. As a result, fees have been abolished and it has been held that any fee collected previously, was done so unlawfully. 
 
The fees were introduced in July 2013 and applied to all claims being lodged at the Employment Tribunal. For unfair dismissal or discrimination claims a fee of up to £1,200.00 was payable. Some less complex employment matters incurred a fee of £410 even when they didn’t seek a monetary award! 
So, what about fees already paid to the Tribunal since July 2013? Will they now be refunded by the Government? How will these refunds be processed? In some cases, employers were ordered to pay back costs to a successful Claimant. In this situation who will the fee be refunded to? There are many unanswered questions now but we will be keeping an eye on this subject in the interests of our previous clients. 
 
The Supreme Court said that the Tribunal fees acted as a deterrent for many people who had legitimate claims against their employers. My question now is what happens to all those claims that were not lodged, because the complainants couldn’t afford the fees, and are now time barred? Could out of time discrimination and unfair dismissal claims be pursued on the basis that it would be “just and equitable” do so? If you were one of the people who were put off by the fees, despite having a potential claim against your employer, please contact us for further advice. 
 
Now that the gates to justice have been removed by the Supreme Court, maybe unfair employers will think twice about how they treat their employees. In my opinion, the fees were unfair and targeted those most vulnerable. Anyone wishing to lodge a claim against their employer can now do so now at a reduced cost. 
 
What do you think? 
 
Please contact us if you are thinking about making a claim in the Employment Tribunal. Here at Spencer Shaw, we pride ourselves on providing our clients with clear and accurate employment law advice in plain English. 
 
Carina Jheeta 
Employment Solicitor 
Tagged as: Employment Tribunal
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