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19th December, 2014

Update to Unison’s Employment Tribunal Fees Judicial Review Application


Unison’s second application for Judicial Review regarding the increased Employment Tribunal fees were rejected by the High Court on Wednesday 17 December 2014, here’s why.

Unison had based their application for Judicial Review on two areas. The first was that the new tribunal fees were unlawful under the EU principle of effectiveness, stating it was virtually impossible for people to bring a claim. The second area Unison attempted to challenge the tribunal fees was that the new system is indirectly discriminatory.

Lord Justice Elias provided the leading judgement regarding the application yesterday stating the challenges to the tribunal fees were unsuccessful for the following reasons.

In response to the EU principle of effectiveness, the High Court had reviewed the application and stated that any restrictions must satisfy a proportionality test and if the hurdle served no useful purpose it would not be proportionate.

The High Court however could not take into account Unison’s challenge, as there was a lack of evidence as Unison had based their argument on statistics and not actual claimants. Therefore, the High Court would not be able to conclude whether a potential claimant was unable or unwilling to bring a claim.

In response to Unison’s challenge to the tribunal fees stating they were indirectly discriminatory the High Court stated that the difference in fees regarding a Type A claim and a Type B claim could be justified by the level of resources they required.

The High Court concluded its judgement by stating that the new tribunal fees were justified as people who use the Employment Tribunal service should contribute to the running of the service and that the changes made had made the system more efficient and encouraged settlements.

For further information and advice on changes to Employment Tribunal Fees, please contact Helen Watson on 01244 405565 or send an email to [email protected]



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