Tribunal fees to stay for now

UNISON has lost its legal challenge against the introduction of tribunal fees due to a “lack of evidence”.

UNISON has lost its legal challenge against the introduction of tribunal fees due to a “lack of evidence”.

Although the High Court acknowledged some of the union’s claims were pertinent, the judgment found there wasn’t sufficient evidence to justify overturning of the new system.

It appears that the decision taken by the court was made because it is too soon to assess the impact that fees are having. However, the door has been left open by the High Court for the situation to be reviewed at a later date.

So, the current situation is a case of ‘wait and see’, especially as the first set of figures released show a 79 per cent decrease in the number of tribunals applications being made. Unison do intend to appeal the decision and with the figures showing such a huge decline in the numbers, this may be the evidence they need to show the fee system is not working and is not fair to all.

Meanwhile, from April 6, employees who intend to bring an employment tribunal claim must first pass the claim details to ACAS to try to settle the matter before submitting the claim to the tribunal service.

This “pre-claim conciliation” will then be offered for a month in order to see if the matter can be settled before the case proceeds any further. If this is refused by either party or no agreement can be gained, only then will the claim progress to the tribunal.

It is hoped that this new process will avoid costly, stressful and time-consuming tribunal cases and reduce the numbers of cases being bought to a tribunal hearing.