Unfair tribunal fees plan shows government is out of ideas, says UNISON

Tribunal fees deny the poorest and most vulnerable access to justice

Commenting on the launch of a government consultation into tribunal fees, UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea said:

“The government should be tackling the real issues the country faces, not trying to pick another fight with working people.

“The fact that ministers want to reheat a failed and illegal policy shows that this is a government that ran out of ideas some time ago and needs to step aside.

“Tribunal fees denied the poorest and most vulnerable access to justice. The only people who would benefit from their reintroduction are unscrupulous bosses.

“When UNISON forced the fees to be scrapped in 2017, the UK Supreme Court said the government had acted unlawfully and unconstitutionally. Nothing has changed. Tribunal fees were unfair then and they are still unfair today.”

Notes to editors:
– The judgment UNISON v The Lord Chancellor [2017] UKSC 2015/0233 can be found here
– The seven Supreme Court judges ridiculed the government’s misunderstanding of “elementary economics, and plain common sense”, when ministers claimed higher fees would mean increased demand. The Supreme Court also stressed that the administration of justice was not merely a public service, where courts and tribunals were only of value to the “users” who appeared before them and who obtained a remedy. It also said the fall in claims when fees came in was “so sharp, so substantial and so sustained” that they could not reasonably be afforded by those on low to middle incomes.
– Employment tribunal fees were originally introduced on 29 July 2013.
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union with more than 1.3 million members providing public services in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors.

Media contacts:
Dan Ashley M: 07908 672893 E: d.ashley@unison.co.uk
Liz Chinchen M 07778 158175 E: l.chinchen@unison.co.uk