UNISON will launch a new Judicial Review into the introduction of tribunal fees, following a hearing at the Court of Appeal today.
Today the Lord Chancellor agreed with UNISON that a new hearing should take place as soon as possible, in light of new evidence.
Ministry of Justice (MoJ) statistics show a dramatic fall in clams being brought to Employment Tribunals and to the Employment Appeal Tribunal.
Prior to the introduction of fees, the Employment Tribunals received on average 48,000 new claims per quarter. Figures for April to June 2014 show that in this quarter there were only 8,540 new claims – 81% fewer than the number of claims lodged in the same period of 2013, according to MoJ figures released last week.
UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: ”The union welcomes today’s decision of the Court of Appeal to stay proceedings while a new High Court claim is brought.
“The statistics from the past year are damning and paint a shocking picture of tens of thousands of workers being priced out of justice. The government must put an end to these unfair and punitive fees which disadvantage workers and open the door to unscrupulous employers.”
Since the introduction of fees on 29 July 2013, there has been an 86% drop in sex discrimination claims; and an 80% drop in Equal Pay claims.
The government’s decision to introduce Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal fees was challenged by UNISON with a Judicial Review 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 in February 2014 that because the fees were introduced in July 2013 the full impact could not yet be determined.
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.