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High Court rejects tribunal fees judicial review

Oral hearing set for Monday as claimants rush to beat deadline

24 July 2013

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The High Court last night rejected on paper an application for judicial review by UNISON of the new fees for employment tribunals.

However, UNISON has renewed the application and secured an oral hearing, which will take place on Monday next week, the day the fees are due to come in.

Claims for unpaid wages, holiday pay and redundancy would be classed as 'level one' and require an issue fee of £160 and a hearing fee of £230. 'Level two' claims, including unfair dismissal and discrimination, would need an issue fee of £250 and £950, totalling £1200.

"This early decision is disappointing but UNISON is committed to continuing our challenge for a judicial review," Dave Prentis, general secretary, said.

"The government's plans to ration access to justice by introducing fees into employment tribunals and Employment Appeal Tribunals are unjust and discriminatory."

The union argued that the fees breached EU law, by making it excessively difficult or virtually impossible for workers to exercise their rights in the face of fees that could be higher than the compensation sought.

UNISON said there had been no assessment of the public sector equality duty and the impact of fees on people with protected characteristics, and charging prohibitively high fees would have a disproportionate effect on women.

James Davies, partner at Lewis Silkin, said: "A number of people are conscious of the deadline this weekend. It's not exactly a flood, more of a rush from some claimants.

"Fees will put people off from bringing claims. Some of them might be spurious, but I'm sure others will be valid.

"The remission rules, which will put limits on income and capital, will be quite difficult to satisfy.

"I'm not saying that the introduction of fees is wrong in itself, but you've got to ensure you are not denying justice to those who can't afford it."

BIS announced its decision to introduce fees this time last year.

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Tribunals & Courts