Bright light!

The law says Employment Tribunal fees are unlawful - July 2017


In this issue ...

You will no doubt have heard that today (26th July 2017) the Supreme Court, in R (on the application of UNISON) v Lord Chancellor, held that fees charged to claimants in the Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal are unlawful. The fee regime, the Supreme Court decided, has the effect of preventing access to justice and is discriminatory. It must therefore end immediately.

The Supreme Court considered the ‘dramatic and persistent fall’ (of over 65%) in the number of employment tribunal claims since fees were introduced. Fees contributed much less to tribunal costs than expected, had failed to deter claims that lacked merit, and did not appear to have promoted settlements through Acas. Lady Hale also considered the higher fees for more complex claims, including discrimination, were themselves indirectly discriminatory as a much higher proportion of these claimants are women. The higher fees had not been shown to be objectively justifiable.

Employers, who have seen a significant reduction in Employment Tribunal claims, can only see today's decision as bad news. There is no immediate action you can or should take, but the number of tribunal claims is likely to increase, both because the fees have been scrapped and because of the publicity attracted by today's decision. If you have any worries please do get in touch.

As our regular readers will know, Collinson Grant offers support for day to day HR issues that can mitigate the risk of ending up in an Employment Tribunal. Our experts can provide your line managers and HR team with telephone and e-mail advice, draft letters and employment documentation as the situation demands. We can also handle any claim that does arise on your behalf.


Just a quick reminder that Collinson Grant does a lot more than advise clients in all sorts of organisations about the complexities, constraints and opportunities presented by employment law. Our consultants also provide support regularly on: employee relations, reward, restructuring, recruitment, leadership and HR strategy. And we have well-honed skills in operations: managing and reducing costs, organisational design, process improvement, procurement and managerial controls. Do ask if you would like to know more.


If you would like to discuss this or any other issue facing your organisation please speak to your usual contact at Collinson Grant or Peter Howarth on 0161 703 5600

Although care has been taken in the preparation of this Newsletter, Collinson Grant cannot accept responsibility for errors, omissions or advice given. Readers should note that only Acts of Parliament and Statutory Instruments have the force of law and only the courts can authoritatively interpret the law.