UNISON announces appeal over employment tribunal fees

UNISON has today announced that it will apply to the Court of Appeal for permission to appeal the High Court’s ruling rejecting its claim for Judicial Review of the Government’s decision to introduce tribunal fees.

The union will ask the Court of Appeal to consider the shocking figures released last month that revealed Employment Tribunal claims dropped by 79% in the first six months after the Government imposed fees onworkers bringing a claim.

The Government’s decision to introduce Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal fees was challenged by UNISON in the High Court late last year.

UNISON argued that the introduction of fees would deny access to justice for workers treated unfairly by employers and would therefore be unlawful, and that the requirement to pay fees has a disproportionate impact on women.

The High Court appeared to accept the union’s argument, but ruled that because the fees were introduced last year the full impact could not yet be judged. 

Official statistics now show that the number of claims received in October to December 2013 was 9,801 – 79% fewer than in the same period of 2012, and down 75% on the period July to September 2013. Sexdiscrimination claims have dropped by 77% compared to the same period in 2012 and by 82% compared to the previous quarter. And there have been 83% fewer equal pay claims compared to the same period in 2012 – 85% less than the previous quarter.  

Dave Prentis, General Secretary of UNISON, said:

“There is absolutely no doubt that the Government’s decision to introduce fees has destroyed access to justice. 

“The fall in the number of tribunal claims being lodged is staggering and these latest figures give the Government nowhere to hide.

“We have argued all along that there can be no price placed on justice, but the sad fact is that this is exactly what is happening.”

UNISON has been successful in securing a significant concession from the Government, in that claimants who are successful will now generally have their fees reimbursed.


Notes to Editors 

Fees start at around £160 to issue a claim, rising to £250 a claim depending on the type of claim; which a further hearing fee starting at £230 to £950. Where claims are issued by a group, issue fees range from £320 and £460 (hearing fee). For a simpler “Type A” claim with 2-10 claimants to £1500 (issue fee) and £5700 (hearing fee) for a more complex “Type B claim” with over 200 claimants.


UNISON to apply to Court of Appeal for permission to appeal govt’s employment tribunal fees