Unison employment tribunal fees appeal heard in June
As we previously reported, Unison was given permission to appeal the High Court's decision to dismiss its Judicial Review application in relation to the introduction of Tribunal fees. Unison have argued that the introduction of Employment Tribunal fees have led to a huge drop in Tribunal claims being lodged and therefore is causing a barrier to accessing justice. The appeal was heard on 16 June and a decision is awaited.
Government announce review of ET fee regime
The UK Government previously made a commitment to review the impact following the introduction of Tribunal fees back in 2013. It is perhaps no coincidence that an announcement was made regarding this review on the same day that the latest Tribunal statistics were published and shortly before Unison's appeal was heard (see above).
The Tribunal statistics highlight that the number of Employment Tribunal claims for the period April 2014 - March 2015 was only 61,306. This compares to 105,803 claims in 2013/2014 and, perhaps more significantly, to 191,541 claims for April 2012 - March 2013, which was the last full 12 month period during which no fee required to be paid by a Claimant in order to raise a claim.
The review is expected to be finished later this year and the Government has said that it will consult on any proposals for reforms to the fees and the remission scheme.
The Government's terms of reference for the review can be found here.
It is also worth noting that it is intended that certain Tribunal powers in relation to administration and management of Tribunals are expected to be devolved to the Scottish Parliament. The Scottish Government has previously voiced their opposition to Tribunal fees which means that we could end up with a situation where there are no Tribunal fees for claims in Scotland but fees where the claim is raised in England & Wales.