The Supreme Court has today handed down a unanimous judgement declaring the Employment Tribunal fees regime introduced in July 2013 unlawful on the grounds that it restricts access to justice, contrary to both common law and European Union legal principles.
Since 29 July 2013 Employment Tribunal claimants have been required to pay fees to start a claim, with further fees for the final hearing. Fees payable for a basic unfair dismissal are a minimum of £1,200. The fees have been strongly criticised and today's publication fulfils a longstanding government promise to investigate whether changes are required.
The latest figures published by the Ministry of Justice show that the number of single claims presented to the employment tribunals in the quarter ended June 2104 has declined by 70% compared to the same period in 2013 and by 30% compared to the first quarter of 2014.
With effect from Monday 29th July a number of radical changes to the employment tribunal system used for litigating all statutory employment claims and smaller contract claims arising from employment or its termination will take effect.
The Ministry of Justice has issued a consultation paper on possible charging regimes for making claims in the Employment Tribunals and Employment Appeal Tribunal. Currently claimants pay nothing to bring a claim in these forums, an anomaly in the civil justice system.