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Proposed Resurrection of Employment tribunal fees

The Ministry of Justice has confirmed that it intends to reintroduce fees for employment tribunal claims.

Tribunal fees were first introduced in July 2013 starting at approximately £160 and in certain circumstances ranging up £1,200.

The government was heavily criticised for denying claimants access to justice in a judicial review Unison won the case and the fees were declared unlawful.

The Ministry of Justice stated that it is ‘doing all it can’ to ensure a refund for everybody who paid a fee in the four years they were in existence. On a cumulative basis the Ministry of Justice have made refunds totalling £15.8m.

Since fees were abolished, the Ministry of Justice reported that there has been a staggering 90% increase in claims.

The Ministry of Justice stated that they are confident that a fee system can be created capable of ensuring claimants access to justice, if that fee was at the right level.

This proposal is somewhat controversial and has been faced with critical comments such as ‘Only the staggeringly myopic would suggest reintroducing fees’, and ‘For Claimants, this proposal really is just adding insult to injury’.

Despite the criticism, the Ministry of Justice insisted that the scheme is not an attempt to squeeze as much income as possible out of each litigant. Whether the Ministry is able deliver a scheme ensuring access to justice remains to be seen.