The End of Employment Tribunal Fees

26th July 2017

The End of Employment Tribunal Fees

Employment Lawyers

Share this article

The Supreme Court has this week ruled that employment tribunal fees are unlawful. The government will now have to repay fees circa £32 million to claimants. We discuss how this changes everything.

Employment tribunal fees were introduced in the summer of 2013 and since then any claimant has had to pay a fee to lodge a claim in the tribunals and a further fee to have a hearing. The most common employment  tribunal fees were, until today:

  • Unpaid wages, breach of contract, redundancy pay and other type A claims: £160 for lodging a claim and £230 hearing fee;
  • Unfair dismissal, discrimination and other Type B claims: £250 for lodging the claim and £950 hearing fee.

Cases were brought in 2014 by Unison in England and Wales and in 2013 in Scotland, by Fox and Partners claiming that the fees were disproportionate and prevented employees and workers accessing justice. The Supreme Court has concluded that the government was acting unlawfully, discriminatory and unconstitutionally when it introduced the fees.

Since the introduction of the fees, the numbers of applications to the employment tribunals plummeted by more than 75%.

One of the purposes of the fees was to reduce the number of weak, unmeritorious claims. Tribunal statistics shows that the number of successful claims has not increased since the introduction of the tribunal fees. Consequently, the Court found that instead of reducing the number of spurious claims, fees have dissuaded genuine litigants from bringing claims, simply because they have not been able to afford the fees. The Court concluded that a large number of employees had simply been denied access to justice.

We had commented on the introduction of tribunal fees when they were first introduced. It is our view that this is one of the most important employment law/constitutional decisions taken in a very long time and is likely to result in an increase in the numbers of claimants and in particular litigants in person over the coming months and years.


For more specific information or to discuss your requirements please call either Amanda Galashan or Julie Calleux at Employease on 0333 939 8741, or email us at info@employease.co.uk. This note does not constitute legal advice on any particular situation you may have.

© Employease: The Employment Practice Ltd 2017

Twitter: https://twitter.com/employease

Blog: https://www.employease.co.uk/viewpoint/

Web: https://www.employease.co.uk

Company registered in England Reg No: 2931940

Registered Office: 40 Woodford Avenue, Gants Hill, Essex IG2 6XQ

Share this article

Related Articles

The New Job Support Scheme

28th September 2020

On 24th September, the Chancellor announced the broad outline of the new Job Support Scheme (JSS). In broad terms, the JSS seeks to enable short time working whilst ensuring that employees are still able to earn sufficient wages to survive and companies receive some help with their payroll costs.

How can you prevent your staff from ignoring quarantine?

30th July 2020

As the government permits foreign travel again, and then suddenly revokes its own advice as the pandemic waxes and wanes unpredictably, employers continue to face challenging times and new problems.

It’s going to take more than a cheap meal to save UK employment

9th July 2020

There are two measures that are likely to be of direct interest to employers: The Job Retention Bonus (JRB) and the Kickstart Scheme. The JRB is intended to encourage employers to retain staff, and the Kickstart Scheme is aimed at addressing the problems with unemployment amongst the young in society.