The High Court has today rejected Unison’s judicial review of the Employment Tribunal fee regime. This is the latest decision in a long line of challenges to the fee system which came into effect in July 2013.
Unison initially challenged the fee regime prior to its introduction, attempting to stop the implementation of fees altogether. It argued that fees contravened a number of EU law directives and human rights legislation. When that challenge failed, Unison asked the court to overturn the fee regime a few months later. The High Court dismissed the case on the grounds that there was not enough data showing a drop in cases to throw out the fee regime at that stage.
Nonetheless, preliminary statistics showed an initial decline in claims so the court hinted that this ruling would be reviewed should any future figures bear out the prediction that the number of cases would plummet. The latest figures from the Ministry of Justice have indeed shown a massive drop in claims of 79% on the previous year’s statistics. However, despite these figures it appears that the Court has decided to retain the fee regime in its current form.
In England and Wales, at least, it seems that fees are here to stay. However, with proposals afoot to devolve control of the Tribunal system to the Scottish Parliament, we could see future legislative measures taken in Scotland to reduce or remove the fee system.