Last month the Ministry of Justice revealed a 12% decline in single claims received by the employment tribunal service in the last quarter of 2014 against the same period last year. This is significant for most of our clients since single claims are the type most of us will ever come across (as opposed to multiple claims normally brought by trades unions in equal pay cases.) If Labour win the next election they have been clear that they will review the tribunal fee system which is regarded as unjust by many in the party and their union backers.
With Unison seeking to appeal its thus far unsuccessful legal challenge to tribunal fees (under which claimants are required to pay up to £1200 to progress unfair dismissal cases to a hearing) it seems certain that a new Labour government would scrap or perhaps vastly reduce the current fees charged. What is beyond argument is the cataclysmic impact the fee regime has had on tribunal applications, with single claims showing more than a 70% drop when compared with the old free fee days and have led many to challenge the government’s claims that the fee system has not erected an unassailable barrier to justice for poorer people. In the government’s defence the MoJ also revealed at the same time that two thirds of those who appealed for a remission of fees (i.e. on the basis they could not afford them) were successful.
A Labour government or a successful Unison challenge are both likely to see substantial changes to the fee system, all bets are off!
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