Supreme Court ruling could lead to rise in employment tribunals claims

Written by staff reporter

The Supreme Court ruled today that employment tribunal fees formerly introduced by the government were unlawful. The impact of today’s judgement could see the volume of claims increase, according to employment law firm DAS Law.

Partner at the firm and head of employment and commercial, Allison Whiston, said the ruling came as a complete surprise to many. “The fees attracted a great deal of negative attention when they were introduced, with many claiming the fees restricted access to justice for many thousands of people,” she explained.

The impact of the fees has been dramatic; a Government Consultation paper published by the Ministry of Justice in January 2017 acknowledged a “dramatic and persistent fall“ in the number of employment tribunal claims since the fees were introduced estimating a fall of between 66% – 70%.

“What we are now likely to see is an increase of claims from employees who would previously have decided against pursuing an action, feeling that they are now able to access justice through the Employment Tribunal,” Whiston added. “Businesses will need to be mindful of their position when faced with potential employment issues and seek advice at early stages to resolve disputes before claims are issued.

“Today’s judgement will have wide ranging implications as the Lord Chancellor has also given an undertaking that all fees that have been paid, will be reimbursed. How this will be implemented, remains to be seen and we await further guidance from the Lord Chancellor on this.

“Importantly, this may not be the end of the fee regime. The Court accepted that the underlying reason why fees were introduced remains legitimate, and we are therefore likely to see the government issuing a consultation paper to bring about a new fee regime that is more in line with the Civil Courts regime.”

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