Review of Employment Tribunal Fees Announced
The government has now announced its review of the impact of Employment Tribunal fees. It is anticipated that this will be completed by the end of the year.
The aim of the review is assess the impact of fees in the Tribunal system, including the fee remission scheme, to determine how successful this has been in achieving the original objectives of the government, which were:
- Financial – to transfer a proportion of the costs from the taxpayer to those who use the Tribunal;
- Behavioural – to encourage parties to seek alternative ways of resolving employment disputes; and
- Justice – to maintain access to justice.
One point that does seem to be missing from the review is that there is no mention of the government consulting with stakeholders or users of the Tribunal system, which one would have thought would be form a cornerstone of a proper review. The government have however suggested they will consult, if after the review, it decides changes are needed.
One final point to mention with regards to the timing of this announcement, is that it is not lost on those of us following the tribunal fees judicial review being brought by Unison, that the case is to be argued in 2 weeks at the Court of Appeal (which in my humble opinion has been a pointless PR exercise by Unison for the benefit of their members – with no actual prospect of the judicial review being successful). One can’t help but feel the government have announced the review now to possibly avoid being asked to explain, as part of that case, why they had not made good on its previous promise to review the system.
We will update you over the course of the coming weeks with news of the Court of Appeal case in relation to Unison’s application for judicial review, and also any further news on the above detailed review.