Challenge to Employment Tribunal Fees


A Scottish law firm is challenging the Employment Tribunals and the Employment Appeal Tribunal Fees Order 2013, which introduced the requirement to pay fees from 29 July 2013.

Employment Tribunal

The legal arguments before the Scottish Court of Session are that:
  • The Order offends against the principle of equivalence in European Law
  • It offends against the principle of effectiveness in European Law
  • It is indirectly discriminatory without justification
  • It was made in breach of section 149 of the Equality Act 2010
  • In mass claims it operates perversely so as to raise revenue rather than a contribution towards costs as intended

A full hearing is expected in October. However, the Court has so far held that the above arguments constitute a prima facie case and that the Petitioners have standing to challenge the Order. Further, the Lord Chancellor has given an undertaking that if the challenge is successful, that he will reimburse all fees that have been paid so far.

The Court also interestingly stated that the income anticipated from the introduction of Tribunal fees is expected to be £800,000 per month. It also stated that £41,000 per month has been committed to on-going support costs to its IT suppliers. Further, £66,000 per month has been allocated to staff resources to the administration of the fee system.

Unfortunately, no further breakdown is given. For example, has the £800,000 figure been arrived at on the basis of an anticipated reduction in claims being brought as a result of the introduction of fees? No doubt the government will not be seeking to measure how the fees system restricts access to justice. However, we should be interested to hear from you if one or more of the following applies:
  • Are you an individual who has suffered an unlawful deduction from wages but who has been prevented from bringing this claim because of the requirement to pay tribunal fees? If so please state the value of the wages you say were deducted.
  • Have you been prevented from bringing any other type of claim because of the requirement to pay tribunal fees? If so please state what claim or claims you were prevented from bringing.
  • Was your claim dismissed in the sift procedure? If so, please provide details.
  • Did you make a remission application? If so on what basis and what was the outcome of your application?
  • Did the requirement to pay a hearing fee encourage or discourage you to settle your claim?
  • Did you have administrative difficulties in trying to pay your fee to the Employment Tribunal Service?
  • Did you have administrative difficulties trying to lodge your claim with the Employment Tribunal Service?
  • Have you made a complaint about the Employment Tribunal Service itself?

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