Supreme Court confirms tribunal fee system is unlawful

By July 26, 2017September 6th, 2018Employment, For Business

The Supreme Court unanimously allows the appeal. Lord Reed gives the lead judgment, with which the rest of the Court agrees, dealing with all issues except for discrimination. Lady Hale gives judgment on the discrimination issue, with which the rest of the Court agrees.

The Supreme Court has today delivered its judgment in the long awaited appeal by Unison of the legality of the employment tribunal fee system. According to the Court the fee system contravenes both domestic and EU law by preventing access to justice and is therefore unlawful and must be quashed. The Court recognises that the fees bear no direct relation to the amount being claimed and as a result can be expected to act as a deterrent to claims for small sums and/or non-monetary awards. The Court also upheld Unison’s claim that the fee system (made up of type A and type B claims with differing fees attaching to each) indirectly discriminates against women. They were not satisfied that the higher rate for type B claims (e.g. unfair dismissal, pregnancy discrimination etc) could be justified. It will be very interesting to see how the government responds to this decision. We will keep you updated.

Sarah Scholfield

Author Sarah Scholfield

Sarah is a Solicitor in our Employment Team. Sarah has extensive experience advising employers on a wide range of employment matters including unfair dismissal, discrimination and whistle blowing claims, drafting contracts of employment and dealing with disciplinary/grievance matters. She also regularly advises employees on settlement agreements, disciplinary/grievance matters and unfair dismissal. She is a member of the Employment Lawyers Association. Sarah has been described as “extremely knowledgeable… diligent, sharp” whilst retaining “that all important client focus”.

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