The Supreme Court has ruled in a judgment given on Wednesday 25th July that Employment Tribunal fees are unlawful.

Access to the Employment Tribunal had been free until 29 July 2013 when fees were introduced. The fees varied depending on the type of claim:

  • type A £390;
  • type B ( including unfair dismissal and discrimination claims) £1200
  • appeals to the Employment Appeal Tribunal £1600.

The Supreme Court has highlighted that since the fees were introduced there was a dramatic and persistent fall in the number of claims brought by an estimated 66-70%.

The Supreme Court has decided that the introduction of the fees was unlawful from the start because of the effect on preventing access to justice, and in Lady Hale’s judgment she also finds that the higher fees for discrimination claims was indirectly discriminatory.

The Supreme Court has quashed the fees order, so that in future Employment Tribunal claims can be brought with no fees to be paid, which is likely to result in an increased number of claims being pursued in future.

Claimants may also wish to consider whether they have been prevented from bringing claims in the past due to the level of fees.

It is understood that those who have paid Employment Tribunal fees since 2013 will be entitled to a refund, and that overall an estimated £32 million is to be refunded.

Please contact Conroys Solicitors LLP on 01872 272457 if you wish to seek advice about any employment issues.