Chester 01244 405555

Grosvenor Court
Foregate Street Chester
Cheshire CH1 1HG
DX: 19990 Chester

Shrewsbury 01743 443 043

Lakeside House
Oxon Business Park
Shrewsbury SY3 5HJ
DX: 148563 Shrewsbury 14

Manchester 0844 800 8346

Pall Mall Court
61-67 King Street
Manchester M2 4PD

Send us a message
Our Offices

There won’t be a judicial review of Tribunal fees – at least for now!

25th March, 2014

Following the introduction of fees into the Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal on 29 July 2013, two judicial review applications were made.

The first application, submitted by Fox and Partners, was stayed pending the outcome of the second application, by Unison.

The High Court has now rejected the judicial review application against the Employment Tribunals and Employment Appeal Tribunal Fees Order 2013 in The Queen on the Application of Unison v Lord Chancellor [2014] EWHC 218 (Admin).

The judicial review application was based around four points:

1. It was asserted that the requirement to pay fees makes it virtually impossible or excessively difficult for claimants to access the Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal.

The impact of fees was assessed by considering a range of hypothetical claimants with differing income and capital backgrounds. The High Court held that although proceedings will be expensive, the introduction of fees did not make bringing a claim virtually impossible or excessively difficult. The Tribunal will encourage a full exchange of information prior to the hearing fee being payable, giving claimants the opportunity to fully assess their prospects of success.

2. The application stated that the requirement to pay fees at the current levels is less favourable than the fee regimes governing similar domestic actions

The High Court found that the introduction of fees was in fact comparable to the costs regimes in other proceedings (such as County Court proceedings). In addition, the introduction of free early claim conciliation through Acas and the likelihood that successful claimants will recover their fees meant that the principal of equivalence was not breached.

3. The third point raised in the application was that the introduction of fees to the Employment Tribunals and Employment Appeal Tribunal was a breach of the Public Sector Equality Duty

It was held that the Public Sector Equality Duty was not breached as there had been substantial consultation over the level of fees and the fee remission scheme. The High Court noted that the Public Sector Equality Duty is a continuing duty and, as such, the regime will continue to be assessed.

4. The final assertion in the application was that the introduction of fees was unlawful and an act of indirect discrimination.

The indirect discrimination assertion was in relation to the two levels of fees. Although the High Court could not accept a general proposition that women earn less than men and are therefore indirectly discriminated against by the fees regime, it also could not reach a conclusion on the objective justification for Type B fees. The High Court therefore noted the duty on the Lord Chancellor under the Equality Act 2010, which makes him accountable if the fee regime is proven unfair.

Although this judicial review application was rejected, it does leave scope for further challenges to the fees regime in the future, in particular in relation to the two levels of fees. A key point that the High Court noted was that this application had been brought prematurely and as a result, the robust evidence needed to persuade it to overturn the fees regime was absent. We therefore look out for future cases on this matter.

For further information and advice in relation to Employment Tribunals, fees and fee remissions, please contact Helen Watson on 01244 405565 or send an email to [email protected].

You might also be interested in...

Solicitors’ Professional Indemnity Insurance: Run-off and alternative regulators

18th July, 2018

Special Focus: Solicitors’ Professional Indemnity Insurance Run-off – it dominates the thoughts of sole practitioners and partners in smaller law firms in my experience and restricts the ambitions of firms. The SRA could help law firms by relaxing their rules on run-off cover on their Solicitors’ Professional Indemnity Insurance to help firms merge or close more easily. This would protect... Read More »

Senior employment lawyer joins Theatr Clwyd board

17th July, 2018

Helen Watson, Head of Employment Law at Aaron & Partners LLP, has taken up an invitation to become a Trustee of both the Trust Board and the Main Board Theatr Clwyd has bolstered its senior leadership team with the appointment of an experienced employment law solicitor to support its vision of being at the forefront of theatre making... Read More »

Why there is more to CSR than just boosting a company’s ego

6th July, 2018

When a business invests in its community it deserves praise – but it must go beyond that, writes Helen Watson, a trustee at Claire House and partner at Aaron and Partners Solicitors. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is the link between a company and the community in which it operates. As a trustee on charity boards including Claire House... Read More »

Contact Us