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The Most Important Judgment in Employment Law Over the Last 50 Years

Monday, August 7, 2017
A decision came from the Supreme Court last week that looks like it might be the end of costly Employment Tribunal fees. What does this mean for employers and employees alike? 

Last week, the only discussion point in the legal and HR world was the landmark decision by The Supreme Court in relation to tribunal fees - in that the fees actually prevents access to justice and is therefore unlawful.  The argument raised by Unison is that the fees made it difficult for low paid workers to seek legal recourse against their employer, and the Court acknowledged this point and agreed such fees could not reasonably be afforded by those on middle-low incomes.   

employment tribunal
So what does this mean?

Firstly, it is reported that the government will act on this and look to cease charging tribunal fees.  In addition, the union are calling for the government to reimburse individuals who, in the past, have paid to take their employer to an Employment Tribunal.  It is estimated by the Financial Times that such compensation could be as much as £27 million. It is not yet clear whether fees will be automatically reimbursed or if individuals will need to apply to have their fees refunded.

It is also worth pointing out that for those employers who are practising good employee relations, with robust policies and procedures in place operated by trained line managers, there should be no change. However, there is also a view that employees may now feel they have a greater opportunity to progress with a claim (following Acas conciliation) than they did in the past, and will seek to explore their rights further.  
One thing is clear, this debate will continue and there will be more news about this in the press (and by us) in the foreseeable future.  If you have a view on this major decision, we’d love to hear your thoughts so please get in touch.
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