Employment Tribunal fees were introduced on 29 July 2013 which means that Claimants issuing claims in the Employment Tribunal have to pay a court fee to start the claim. These fees can range from £160-250 depending on the type of claim made. If the case proceeds to a final hearing, a hearing fee is also payable which is between £230-950. However, there is a fee remission scheme enabling an individual to apply for either an entire remission, or part remission for those that meet the necessary criteria.

On Wednesday, the Court of Appeal dismissed UNISON’s appeal against its judicial review applications to challenge the legality of Employment Tribunal fees.

UNISON argued that the significant decline in the number of claims being issued in the Employment Tribunal is due to claimants now having to pay court fees that have made it difficult or impossible for some claimants to pursue a claim. They held that this was unlawful. UNISON also claimed that the introduction of fees has had a disproportionately adverse impact on women resulting in indirect discrimination.

The Court explained that it was “troubled” by the sharp decline in claims but that “evidence of the actual affordability of the fees in the financial circumstances of individuals” needs to be put forward. UNISON’s arguments on indirect discrimination were dismissed.

Employers are likely to be pleased by this decision as court fees act as a deterrent to dissuade some employees pursuing claims because of the cost. However, UNISON have sought permission to appeal to the Supreme Court and therefore this is unlikely to be the final decision on the matter.

The Government has also recently committed to a review of the impact on the introduction of employment tribunal fees which is likely to be completed later this year.

Here at Farleys Solicitors our specialist HR & employment law team have a wealth of experience representing companies at employment tribunals, succeeding in their defence. For further advice or assistance call 0845 050 1958, alternatively please complete an online enquiry form.