As a result the union are urgently going back to the High Court to re-argue their case based on new evidence and arguments not used at the time of their unsuccessful application for Judicial Review.
The number of Employment claims have plummeted since the new fee regime was introduced. Unison argue that the level of fees are a barrier to an access to justice for a large number of legitimate claims. They also argue that the fees have a disproportionate impact on women.
When the union brought their initial challenge only limited statics were available for the period July to September 2013. The High Court held the claim was effectively premature but did state that if the statistics were ‘anything like accurate then the impact of the fees regime has been dramatic’ Since then more detailed statistics have been published with the latest available figures produced last week. All the figures show a consistently far lower trend in claims . A Unison press release issued after the Appeal hearing states that there has been an 86% drop in sex discrimination claims since fees were introduced.
The Judge in the initial High Court proceedings suggested that if the downward trend continued then it could be that Parliament would reform the system without further proceedings. That has not happened although it is understood that the government is monitoring the situation. The Labour party have already declared that they would significantly reform the system if they gained power. The government have already committed to re-imburse Claimants' fees in the event that they are unsuccessful. What does seem clear is that at least until the next election the fee system is likely to remain but in a modified form.