Yesterday the Supreme Court ruled that the current arrangements for Employment Tribunal fees are unlawful and will be stopped. Over the past four years, anyone in England, Scotland and Wales who wish to take a tribunal case against an employer has had to pay fees of up to £1200.
Responding to the ruling, the Government has indicated it will take steps immediately to stop charging employment tribunal fees and to refund thousands of people who have paid in recent years. It is widely recognised that employment tribunal fees have prevented people from getting access to justice when they’ve been treated unfairly at work. The relatively high level of tribunal fees has meant that many low-paid workers have been unable to pay to uphold their rights even when they faced harassment or discrimination or have been unfairly dismissed.
Although we are currently waiting for confirmation of new arrangements, reliable sources indicate that employment tribunals are already refusing to take fee payments in person and although the online ET 1 form still requires payment of the fee, this will be updated as soon as it is possible to do so.
This does of course mean that employers are likely to face an increase in employment tribunal claims as employees become free to assert their rights without a financial deterrent.
Jon Forrester specialist employment Solicitor at Pickerings says;
‘We expect to see an increase in the overall number of employment tribunal claims brought. Disgruntled employees will no longer be deterred by the prospect of a fee. Although employers might be disappointed by this change in law, there are practical steps they can take to protect themselves and their businesses against the cost of tribunal claims. We offer a scheme to provide practical support and protection against tribunal claims. Follow the link below for details of our pep scheme.’