Posted on 26 Jul 2017
The impact of today’s Supreme Court judgment on employment tribunal fees could see the volume of claims increase and better access to justice for employees seeking legal advice, according to leading employment law firm DAS Law.
Allison Whiston, Partner, Head of Employment and Commercial at DAS Law said: “Today’s Supreme Court ruling that the fees introduced by the Government were unlawful has come as a complete surprise to many. The fees attracted a great deal of negative attention when they were introduced, with many claiming the fees restricted access to justice for many thousands of people.
“The impact of the fees has been dramatic; a Government Consultation paper published by the Ministry of Justice in January 2017 acknowledged a “dramatic and persistent fall “ in the number of employment tribunal claims since the fees were introduced estimating a fall of between 66% - 70%.
“What we are now likely to see is an increase of claims from employees who would previously have decided against pursuing an action, feeling that they are now able to access justice through the Employment Tribunal. Businesses will need to be mindful of their position when faced with potential employment issues and seek advice at early stages to resolve disputes before claims are issued.
“Today’s judgment will have wide ranging implications as the Lord Chancellor has also given an undertaking that all fees that have been paid, will be reimbursed. How this will be implemented, remains to be seen and we await further guidance from the Lord Chancellor on this.
“Importantly, this may not be the end of the fee regime. The Court accepted that the underlying reason why fees were introduced remains legitimate, and we are therefore likely to see the Government issuing a consultation paper to bring about a new fee regime that is more in line with the Civil Courts regime.”