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Government begins refunding employment tribunal fees

The government has begun refunding employment tribunal fees following the Supreme Court ruling that they're unlawful.

The fees were introduced in 2013, with employees having to pay up to £1,200 to bring a claim. Following a challenge by the union Unison, the Supreme Court ruled that the fees were discriminatory, unlawful and unconstitutional.

Up to 1,000 people are now being contacted individually and given the chance to complete applications before the full scheme is expanded in the coming weeks.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) says it is also working with trade unions that have supported large multiple claims potentially involving hundreds of claimants.

As well as being refunded their original fee, successful applicants will also be paid interest of 0.5%, calculated from the date of the original payment up until the refund date. 

The opening phase of the refunds will last for around 4 weeks. Further details of the scheme, including information about how it can be accessed, will be made available when it is rolled out fully.

In a statement on the issue of fees, the MoJ said: "The Supreme Court judgment noted that 'fees paid by litigants can, in principle, reasonably be considered to be a justifiable way of making resources available for the justice system and so securing access to justice'. The court ruled, however, that we hadn't set the fee at the right level to deliver that outcome."

For people who have paid Employment Tribunals fees, but have not been invited to take part in the initial stage, the MoJ is setting up a pre-registration scheme so that they can register an interest in applying when the full scheme is rolled out.

Those who wish to do so can register either by email at: ethelpwithfees@hmcts.gsi.gov.uk; or alternatively by post to:

Employment Tribunal Central Office (England and Wales)/Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) Fees
PO Box 10218
Leicester LE1 8EG

For further advice on any of the issues raised in this article, or for employment law advice more generally, please contact JPP Law on 020 3468 3064 or email info@jpplaw.co.uk


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