• International Workplace
  • 18 December 2018

Employment Tribunal fees: the return?

Fees for employees bringing Employment Tribunal claims may be reintroduced, the Ministry of Justice has confirmed. Although nothing has been finalised, the MoJ assures that it is looking to develop a fair fee system that will help fund the court while ensuring justice.   

Tribunal fees were introduced in July 2013 and the system was heavily criticised. Then, on 26 July 2017 the Supreme Court in its judgment in R (on the application of Unison) v. Lord Chancellor held that the Employment Tribunals and the Employment Appeal Tribunal Fees Order 2013, SI 2013/1893 (“the Fees order”) was unlawful under both domestic and EU law because it had the effect of preventing access to justice. Since it had that effect as soon as it was made, it was therefore unlawful and must be quashed.

As a result, from 27 July 2017 fees for Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal claims are no longer charged and the number of claims being brought has increased significantly.

Speaking to the House of Commons Justice Committee, Richard Heaton, permanent secretary at the MoJ said:

“We have taken time over this. We have to get the fee level right. I can see a scheme working that is both progressive and allows people out of paying fees where they can’t afford to.

“What we are not trying to do is squeeze as much income as we can out of every litigant,” he insisted.