The UNISON union is to launch a new judicial review into the introduction of employment tribunal fees.
The Court of Appeal ruled on 18 September that a new hearing should take place as soon as possible, in light of new evidence.
Ministry of Justice (MoJ) statistics have revealed a substantial fall in clams being brought to employment tribunals and to the employment appeal tribunal.
Before fees were introduced, employment tribunals received on average 48,000 new claims per quarter. MoJ figures for April to June 2014 show that during the quarter, there were only 8,540 new claims – 81 per cent fewer than the number of claims lodged in the same period of 2013.
UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said the union welcomed the decision, adding that the “unfair” fees disadvantaged workers and opened the door to “unscrupulous employers”.
The government’s decision to introduce the fees was challenged by UNISON with a judicial review in the High Court late last year.
UNISON argued that the introduction of fees would deny access to justice for workers treated unfairly by employers and would therefore be unlawful, and that the requirement to pay fees has a disproportionate impact on women. The High Court ruled in February 2014 that because the fees were introduced in July 2013 the full impact could not yet be determined.
A fee of £160 is payable to issue a Type A claim (such as refusal to allow time off) rising to £250 for a Type B claim (such as dismissal and discrimination). If the matter progresses to a hearing, a further fee of £230 must be paid for Type A claims and £950 for Type B claims.
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