Earlier this week, the Court of Appeal handed down its long-awaited judgment in the legal action brought by UNISON challenging the new Employment Tribunal fees.
According to earlier media reports, since the Employment Tribunal introduced fees, the number of new claims has dropped by around 80%. For more information, take a look at this interesting Personnel Today article: click here.
On Wednesday, the Court of Appeal unanimously threw out UNISON’s challenge.
The court said that UNISON had failed to produce sufficient evidence of actual hardship for potential claimants, and instead was basing its case on notional issues without empirical support. This was not enough for its legal challenge to win. In other words, the court may have been open to UNISON’s legal challenge but it failed to produce sufficient evidence to prove its case.
Notwithstanding its decision, the Court of Appeal also commented that the impact of the fees on the Employment Tribunal system was concerning. It said:
“The decline in the number of claims in the Tribunals following the introduction of the Fees Order is sufficiently startling to merit a very full and careful analysis of its causes; and if there are good grounds for concluding that part of it is accounted for by Claimants being realistically unable to afford to bring proceedings the level of fees and/or the remission criteria will need to be revisited.”
UNISON has stated that it will now appeal to the Supreme Court.
You can read the full decision here.