DLA Welcomes Supreme Court Ruling on ET Fees - 26th July 2017

Date published: 
27 July 2017

The DLA welcomes the Judgment of the Supreme Court that the system of Employment Tribunal fees introduced in 2013 was, from the outset, destined to infringe the constitutional rights of workers by denying them access to justice.  The Supreme Court have determined that the 2013 provisions must be quashed as they were unlawful from the point of introduction, meaning firstly that no further fees can be charged under the old regulations and secondly that there must now be an immediate review of both the need for and level of fees for access to the ETs.


DLA members work with and for many claimants at the rough end of discrimination, and have seen first-hand the devastating effect that the fees regime has had on the ability of workers to seek justice for unlawful discrimination, unpaid wages and unfair dismissal among other things.


The DLA along with many other individuals and organisations has long been arguing for a review of ET fees and we are delighted that the successful UNISON challenge will now force the government to look again at this issue.


For now, claimants who have paid the fees in the past will want to consult their legal advisers to consider their position.  Whilst the MOJ has stated that there will be no further fees charged from the date of judgment, and that they will put in place measures to refund fees paid in recent years, they will not be compensating those who have been deterred from bringing claims at all because of fees.  Whether this is legally correct may well require further consideration before the courts.


We warmly welcome the Supreme Court’s reaffirmation that meaningful access to justice is a constitutional right which is fundamental to the rule of law.


On behalf of our members, we will therefore urge the government to reinstate the free-at-the-point-of-use system of Employment Tribunals, giving full recognition to the importance of employment tribunals for dispute settlement as a fundamental part of the process of developing fair and workable employment and discrimination law principles and as a source of legal precedent with wide reaching public benefit.



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