The decision on the long-awaited judicial review application by UNISON regarding tribunal fees has been released. The High Court has ruled that the imposition of fees for Claimants to bring employment tribunal fees is lawful. However, there is some scope for the fees regime to be reconsidered once its impact becomes more apparent. The High Court said there was still sufficient opportunity for families of very modest means to bring claims and noted that proceedings will be expensive but not to the extent that bringing claims will be virtually impossible or excessively difficult. The fact that the early ACAS conciliation scheme is coming into force in April and that successful Claimants will be able to recover the tribunal fees from their employers were important factors in the Court’s decision.
The outcome of this case is not a surprise; very few commentators expected the application by UNISON to be successful. The Court did show sympathy to Claimants but in the end decided that the difficulties introduced by the new fee regime were not sufficiently high to make it unlawful.
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