The case was brought by the union Unison in March. They argued that the fees prevented workers from pursuing claims and accessing any sort of justice.
Fees of up to £1,200 were originally introduced to reduce the number of malicious and weak cases, and led to a disproportionate 79% decrease in the number of cases brought from 2013 – 2016.
The fees for tribunals differed depending on the seriousness of the claim. For cases related to unpaid wages, redundancy pay or breach of contract, the claim fee was £160 and hearing fee was £230. For unfair dismissal, equal pay, discrimination or whistleblowing, the claim fee was £250 and hearing fee was £950.
Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said that the government had been acting unlawfully, “not just on simple economics, but on constitutional law and basic fairness too”.
Unite assistant general secretary Tony Burke called the result a “massive victory” for the Trade Union movement. Burke said: “This was an attack on Trade Unions to weaken unions and ordinary working people’s ability to get some justice.
"Ordinary people go to work every day and people get treated badly at work, and when it does happen you should have your opportunity to put your case. It’s a great result and you can see from the media already that it was a disgraceful decision to bring it in in the first place.”
The Ministry of Justice said the government will take immediate steps to stop making tribunal charges and refund any payments, possibly up to the value of £32m.
In light of this development, tribunal claims are sure to increase. We would advise you to make sure all of your employment literature, especially your employee handbooks, are up to date.
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