The Governments’ proposed introduction of Employment Tribunal fees scheduled to come into force at the end of July, has met with challenges both north and south of the border. The Court of Session sitting in Edinburgh in early July refused an interim interdict (injunction) that would have prohibited the introduction of the fees on 29th July 2013. It was argued that an injunction should be granted to stop the fees being introduced before a judicial hearing in Scotland later in the year, on whether Tribunal fees are lawful.
Employment Tribunals were originally established as a way of providing a free and accessible means for employees to enforce their employment rights, but the introduction of Tribunal fees is seen by the Government as a way of encouraging businesses and employees to seek alternative ways of resolving disputes – through mediation and early settlement – with an Employment Tribunal as a last resort. The Government maintains that the cost of running Employment Tribunals and Employment Appeal Tribunals cost the taxpayer £74m, and this should be paid for in part by those who use the system.
Kate Fretten, Head of the Employment Team, says “The Court of Session’s decision means that Employment Tribunal fees will be introduced in Scotland at the end of July. However, the Lord Chancellor gave an undertaking that if the fees are ultimately held to be unlawful then any fees that a claimant has paid before a decision is reached, will be refunded with interest.”
In England and Wales UNISON have indicated that they are to challenge the introduction of fees by seeking a judicial review.
For a free initial chat, please call 01202 499255 and Kate or a member of her team will be happy to discuss any questions that you may have.