New date set for High Court hearing into tribunal fees

A new judicial review launched by UNISON over the introduction of Tribunal fees is set to be heard by the High Court on 21 and 22 October 2014, the union announced today. 

It follows the decision of the Court of Appeal last month to stay the appeal of the earlier High Court decision over tribunal fees, in light of new evidence showing a huge drop in tribunal claims.

The Lord Chancellor agreed with UNISON that a new hearing should take place as soon as possible in light of the new evidence.

UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis said: 

“The High Court’s decision to schedule the judicial review within a month of the union filing its claim shows just how important the issue of tribunal fees is. 

“Over the past year we have seen tens of thousands of workers denied access to justice simply because they can no longer afford to bring an employment tribunal claim. If the Government doesn’t abolish these unfair fees it is effectively rolling out the welcome mat to unscrupulous employers, and we must do everything possible not to let that happen.” 

Ministry of Justice 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. The most recent quarterly figures, for April to June 2014 show that in that 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 month. 

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.


Notes to Editors

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 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; with a further hearing fee starting at £230 to £950. Where claims are issued by a group, issue fees for a simpler “Type A” claim with 2-10 claimants are £320 with a hearing fee of £460 (hearing fee); and  a more complex “Type B claim” with over 200 claimants would require a fee of £1500 (issue fee) and a further £5700 (hearing fee).