Response to the Law Society consultation: How should employment tribunals operate in the future?

Evidence of the harm done by the implementation of tribunal fees and recommendations for a fairer system.

This response is written against the background, as the Law Society document notes, of the requirement since July 2013 to pay a fee in order to bring a claim in the employment tribunal (ET) or employment appeal tribunal (EAT). The IER is extremely concerned that in practice fees often present an insurmountable barrier to access to justice. It is wrong in principle that claimants, who already face a very substantial risk of non-recovery of tribunal awards even if successful, should have to pay for the public good of resolving disputes at work. Without reform of fees and guarantees of real access to justice, debates about other changes to the system resemble arguments about angels on pin-heads.

The authors set out responses to the specific questions raised by the Law Society, and in the final section some additional issues that the IER believes requires consideration in the context of the consultation.