Employment lawyers expect busy time ahead after Supreme Court rules Tribunal fees were unlawful

Lawyers at one of the region’s largest law firms are urging clients who have been charged Employment Tribunal fees during the past four years to put in an early claim for reimbursement, after the Supreme Court ruled the fees unlawful.

GHP Legal, which has offices in Wrexham, Oswestry, Llangollen and Chirk, welcomed the decision, saying this would open a fair path to justice for employees who may otherwise have been barred from pursuing their cases in the Employment Tribunal due to the prohibitive fees.

In a landmark ruling this week, all seven Supreme Court Judges overturned judgments in the High Court in 2013 and the Court of Appeal in 2015, instead backing trade union, Unison, which argued that the fees were introduced illegally.

When Employment Tribunal fees were introduced in July 2013 they started at £160 and increased to £250 with £950 for further hearings, with some claimants having to pay as much as £1,200. Now the Ministry of Justice has undertaken to reimburse fees that were paid.

Gwyn Edwards, a Chartered Legal Executive in the employment department of GHP Legal, said: “The implications of the Supreme Court ruling are massive, although it is possible that in time the Government may attempt to bring in legislation that will make the charging of Employment Tribunal fees lawful.

“In the interim those who have paid fees will need to be reimbursed and those who previously could not afford the fees of going through a Tribunal should urgently seek advice regarding their decision as strict time limits apply to bringing claims. We expect there could be a very busy time ahead.”

(Article Published 28/07/2017)

Robert Williams

Robert Williams

Partner and Complaints Handler

Partner and Head of the Civil Litigation, Personal Injury and Dispute Resolution team in Wrexham