UNISON takes tribunal fees case to Court of Appeal

On behalf of all working people, UNISON is taking its fight against the government’s decision to introduce fees for employment tribunals (ETs) to the Court of Appeal.

ET claims fell by 79% in the six months since July 2013 when the government introduced charges up to £1,200 for workers to take a case, win or lose. UNISON first took a case to the High Court saying the introduction of fees would deny access to justice for workers treated unfairly by employers and would therefore be unlawful, and that the requirement to pay fees has a disproportionate impact on women.

The High Court ruled it was too soon to judge the full impact. Now the impact of tribunal fees on workers seeking access to justice is clear, UNISON is to apply to the Court of Appeal for permission to appeal the High Court’s ruling.

UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “There is absolutely no doubt that the government’s decision to introduce fees has destroyed access to justice. The fall in the number of tribunal claims being lodged is staggering and these latest figures give the government nowhere to hide.”

UNISON has been successful in securing a significant concession from the government already, in that claimants who are successful will now generally have their fees reimbursed.

It should be noted that UNISON members who need the union’s support in an Employment Tribunal automatically have their fees paid by the union. This is a significant advantage of UNISON membership.