18 September 2014
Unison have applied to submit new evidence in their appeal against the dismissal of their judicial review application against Employment Tribunal (ET) fees. The Lord Chancellor agreed that a new hearing should take place, taking into consideration new evidence.
Unison will file a new judicial review application to include the most recent statistics on ET fees, which show an 81% drop in claims compared to the same quarter in 2013. Since the introduction of fees in July 2013, there has been an 86% drop in sex discrimination claims, and a 80% drop in Equal Pay claims.
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.”
Unison took judicial review challenge to the High Court on the grounds that the government’s decision to introduce ET fees constituted a barrier to justice.
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.
The initial claim was rejected, but Unison were granted permission to appeal the decision in May 2014.
In a speech to TUC congress 2014, Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Ummuna said the current Employment Tribunal system is “unfair, unsustainable and has resulted in prohibitive costs locking people out of the justice they are entitled to”. He promised that the next Labour Government would “abolish the current system, reform the employment tribunals and put in place a new system which ensures all workers have proper access to justice”.
In response to the latest ET statistics and Ummuna’s speech to Congress, Professor Nicole Busby from the University of Strathclyde has written a blog for IER, available to read here.
The IER will be working with Bristol and Strathclyde Universities in producing an exposé of Employment Tribunal fees, and their impact on workers.
For in-depth analysis on employment disputes and the new ET fees, two IER publications Access to Justice: Surveying the Terrain and Justice Deferred: A Critical Guide to the Coalition’s Employment Tribunal Reforms are available now.