26 February 2016
The Supreme Court has today permitted UNISON to appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeal, which last year ruled that the public sector union could not put the government’s employment tribunal restrictions through judicial review.
UNISON can now take the case back to court, with the intention of judging whether the Court of Appeal erred in its approach to indirect discrimination and the EU principle of effectiveness.
Employment Tribunal fees have limited claimants’ access to justice and have led to significant falls in workers holding their employers to account. Last August, the Court of Appeal decided this was not indirectly discriminatory, although it did describe the decline in claims as “troubling”.
UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis said: “We’re delighted that the Supreme Court
has given us permission to continue our legal fight against these unfair and
“Three years ago the government introduced tribunal fees, immediately making it much
harder for employees – especially those on low incomes – to challenge bosses who
break the law. Unsurprisingly employment tribunal claims have since dropped by 70
“As a result it’s too easy for bad employers to escape justice. Many low-wage
workers now have to put up with unfair or discriminatory treatment simply because
they cannot afford to take a case.
“UNISON’s challenge against fees may have been several years in the making, but
we’re determined not to give up the fight. Thousands of low-paid workers will be
pinning their hopes on us being successful.”