In England a would-be litigant must pay a fee of up to £250 (depending on the type of claim) to list a claim and another £950 if it progresses to a hearing. Trade Union Unison is already pursuing a legal challenge claiming that the fees inhibit the ability of poorer people to be able to access justice, contrary to the requirements of the Human Rights Act. Although the High Court recently rejected Unison’s challenge, the Union is pursuing an appeal and it is hard to see how such a marked decrease in single claims (these have dropped from a monthly average of around 4,500 to 1,700) is not going to add weight to their argument.
Onto other news the National Minimum Wage, now a clear political football, is set to increase to £6.50 in October. The Guardian covered the political angle in their article yesterday: (http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/mar/12/national-minimum-wage-rise-above-inflation)
but for our purposes the key increases (applying from 1st October) are:
- The adult rate will increase about 3% from £6.31 to £6.50 an hour
- the rate for 18- to 20-year-olds will rise 2% from £5.03 to £5.13;
- the rate for 16- to 17-year-olds will go up 2% £3.72 to £3.79; and
- There will also be a 2% increase in the rate for apprentices, from £2.68 to £2.73.