First Fees Challenge Fails


2 mins

Posted on 13 Feb 2014

Unison's challenge to the legality of the introduction of employment tribunal fees has failed.  

The High Court held that the fees did not act as a barrier to enforcing employment rights.  Proceedings would be expensive but not to the extent that bringing a claim would be virtually impossible or excessively difficult, bearing in mind that fee remission is also available for those who cannot afford to pay all or some of the fee.  

The Court also rejected arguments that:

  • the introduction of fees was detrimental to those with protected characteristics;
  • the Government breached the public sector equality duty in failing to consider the impact of fees on those with protected characteristics; and
  • fees and in particular the fact that higher fees are payable in discrimination cases indirectly discriminates against those with protected characteristics.
  • The challenge failed mainly because the Court considered it too soon to assess the impact of fees, meaning that it is still possible that a future challenge could succeed.  Indeed, the Court made it clear that the Lord Chancellor will be under a duty to amend the fees regime if future statistics show that it makes it virtually impossible or excessively difficult for a claimant to exercise their rights under EU law.

    Unison has indicated that it intends to appeal. 

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