The Supreme Court yesterday has allowed an appeal by Unison, holding that the current Employment Tribunal fees regime is unlawful, contrary to EU law and indirectly discriminatory.
It found that the current fees regime had the effect of preventing the access to justice. In addition, it found that it was indirectly discriminatory towards women as there is a higher proportion of women who would bring a “Type B” claim (which includes discrimination claims) which attracts a higher fee.
What happens next?
The Ministry of Justice has said that the Government will take steps to immediately stop charging fees and refund payments to Claimants dating back to 2013, which is estimated to be in the region of £32 million.
Therefore, from yesterday, Claimants will be able to bring a claim in the Employment Tribunal without having to pay any fee and, where fees have already been paid, they will be reimbursed by the Government.
The obvious effect of this ruling is that, until the Government proposes a new solution, there is likely to be an increase in the number of claims being brought to the Employment Tribunal. However, Claimants will still be required to submit to Early Conciliation with ACAS before they can submit a claim.