UNISON has been granted permission to appeal the High Court’s decision turning down its Judicial Review application over tribunal fees.
The Court of Appeal decided yesterday that the basis of the issue is of “sufficient general importance to merit permission to appeal”.
In the High Court last year, UNISON challenged the Government’s decision to introduce Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal fees. The union argued that the introduction of fees would deny access to justice for workers treated unfairly by employers and would therefore be unlawful, and that introduction of 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 be judged.
UNISON will ask the Court of Appeal to consider the shocking figures released in March 2014 that revealed Employment Tribunal claims dropped by 79% in the first six months after the Government imposed fees on workers bringing a claim.
Official statistics show that the number of claims received in October to December 2013 was 9,801 – 79% fewer than in the same period in 2012, and down 75% on the period July to September 2013. Sex discrimination 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.
Figures for tribunal claims lodged between January and March 2014 are expected to be released in June.
Dave Prentis, General Secretary of UNISON, said:
“UNISON has always argued that charging people to bring employment tribunal claims is unfair. We are very pleased that the Court of Appeal believes that our case merits further consideration.”
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.