Supreme Court to hear two challenges on access to justice
26 February 2016By Monidipa Fouzder
Topics: Costs, fees and funding,Employment,Legal aid and access to justice,Courts business
The Supreme Court is to hear two cases with far-reaching consequences for access to justice.
The court announced this morning that it has granted permission to appeal decisions in judicial review cases regarding employment tribunal fees and the residency test for legal aid.
In August, trade union Unison failed in its challenge to the government’s employment tribunal fee regime.
The Court of Appeal ruled it could not be inferred that a drop in the number of employment claims was entirely down to potential claimants’ inability to afford fees.
While there has been a lot of talk about access to justice for individuals over court fees let us not forget that a large number of SMEs are also prevented from bringing claims. Many businesses who have genuine claims will be prevented from issuing proceedings as a result of the excessive court fees. This will encourage debtors to put forward spurious defences to avoid paying. Therefore the level of fees needs reviewing.