Unison has been granted leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal on whether the introduction of fees in employment tribunals was lawful. The appeal is to be heard in June.
Unison’s first application for judicial review was rejected because the full impact of the implementation of fees could not be calculated at that time. In the second judicial review the High Court described the extraordinary fall in the number of claims as “striking”, but nevertheless rejected the claim that the reduction was necessarily due to the fees regime. Dave Prentis of Unison said that tribunal claims have gone down by 80% and sex discrimination claims by 91%. The appeals to both these cases will be heard together.
The justification for the introduction of fees was that those who use the system should pay for it, but with the reduction in claimants going to tribunal this has not proved to be the case. The President of Employment Tribunals in England & Wales said recently that it was anticipated that fees would cover at least a third of the costs, but in fact fee income for the last year covered only 7% of the costs.