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Employment law expert hails scrapping of Employment Tribunal Fees as 'hugely significant'

A ruling by the Supreme Court to scrap Employment Tribunal fees has been hailed as a ‘hugely significant judgment’ by employment lawyers.

Supreme Court

26 July 2017

The Supreme Court ruled today that fees of up to £1,200 for taking cases to an employment tribunal will be scrapped.

The case was brought by Unison who argued that the fees introduced by then Lord Chancellor, Chris Grayling, discriminated against women and others groups of workers. 

The Supreme Court ruled unanimously that when introducing the fees in July 2013 the Government acted unlawfully and unconstitutionally.

The union claims that the Government will now have to refund those that have been charged for taking claims to the tribunal since the fees were introduced - a bill of over £27 million.

Chris Benson the head of the employment team at law firm Leigh Day which is representing thousands of women seeking equal pay claims against ASDA and drivers from Uber over working entitlements, said:
 
"This is a hugely significant judgment. These costs were a massive barrier to people accessing justice following unlawful behaviour by their employer. 
 
“The Government asking people to pay what amounted to an ‘entrance fee’ to an Employment Tribunal, at a time in their lives that they are potentially at their most financially vulnerable, was at the cost of blocking legitimate claims against employers and has exacerbated the problem that many workers face of discriminatory and degrading work conditions.”

Since the fees were introduced in 2013 there has been a drop of 70% in the number of cases taken to employment tribunal, according to a review of the impact of fees carried out earlier this year.

Leigh Day’s employment law team will now be considering the impact of the judgement on their current cases, including the equal pay claim against Asda and ‘worker status’ claims against Uber and Deliveroo.

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