Fees were introduced in July 2013 in both the Employment Tribunal and the Employment Appeal Tribunal, meaning that Claimants have to pay a fee of £160-£250 to lodge a claim and £230-£950 if the matter goes to a full hearing. A further £400 is payable to lodge an appeal and £1200 for a full appeal hearing.
One of the principles underpinning the Government introducing the new fees system was to transfer some of the £74 million cost of running the tribunals from the taxpayer to those who use the service.
Unison argued that the fees were “prohibitive” and not a “proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim”. They argued that the introduction of fees was not compatible with EU law or its principles and also breached public sector equality duties. Finally, they argued that the fees were indirectly discriminatory towards women, as equal pay claims attracted higher band fees and women earn less than men as a general rule.
In announcing their decision today, the High Court dismissed all the challenges, stating that the case had been “premature” as the evidence at this point in time lacked the robustness necessary to overturn the new fee regime.
In light of today’s decision, Unison has made it clear that they intend to take the challenge to the Court of Appeal. It therefore remains to be seen whether fees will remain for those wishing to lodge an Employment Tribunal claim. However, for the time being, the fee system will continue.
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