Judicial Review on Tribunal Fees – Results are in

The introduction of tribunal fees has rocked the industry, and employment lawyers had to take a far more cautious approach when accepting new clients. Not all potential clients have the resources to pay the fees, so higher prospects of success (than before) had to be ensured if the firm was willing to initially bear those costs.

This led to an inevitable drop in cases that could be accepted, so the Ministry of Justice’s statistics demonstrating an 80% drop in Tribunal claims came as no surprise.[dt_gap height=”10″ /]

As highlighted in my previous article in May 2014; UNISON initially challenged the introduction of tribunal fees and it was held by the High Court that sufficient time needed to have passed to allow the Court to obtain enough robust evidence to enable them to review the fee system effectively.[dt_gap height=”10″ /]

The Lord Chancellor agreed in September 2014 with UNISON that a new hearing should take place in the Court of Appeal .[dt_gap height=”10″ /]

However, recent reports have stated that the application for a Judicial review was unsuccessful. The reasons for which will follow on BAILII today.[dt_gap height=”10″ /]

The results cannot come as a surprise; on this occasion, Unison felt it had a better chance of success as evidence built of a disproportionate effect on women, low-paid staff, disabled people and black and Asian workers.[dt_gap height=”10″ /]

However, under closer scrutiny, the actual statistics did not reflect Unison’s grounds for judicial review. It seems as though Unison did not have the confidence in the application but felt the need to portray themselves as acting in the best interests of their members.[dt_gap height=”10″ /]

The issue of tribunal fees is not only a contentious issue in the courts but also in politics; an article in the Law Gazette highlights The Labour Party’s pledge to not abolish the fees but reform the system to prevent “locking people out of justice they are entitled to.”[dt_gap height=”10″ /]

It will be interesting to see the results in the next General Election in 2015, and how that will shape the industry going forward.

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