07/08/2017 - UNISON legal victory sees employment tribunal fees scrapped

Dave PrentisEmployment tribunal fees will be scrapped after our brothers and sisters in UNISON won a historic court victory against the government recently.

The Supreme Court, the UK’s highest court, has unanimously ruled that the government was acting unlawfully and unconstitutionally when it introduced the fees four years ago.

From today, anyone who has been treated illegally or unfairly at work will no longer have to pay to take their employers to court – as a direct result of UNISON’s legal challenge.

The government will also have to refund more than £27m to the thousands of people charged for taking claims to tribunals since July 2013, when fees were introduced by then Lord Chancellor Chris Grayling.

Anyone in England, Scotland and Wales wanting to pursue a case against their employer has had to find as much as £1,200. This has been a huge expense for many low-paid employees, says UNISON.

Reacting to the decision, UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis (pictured) said:
“The government is not above the law. But when ministers introduced fees they were disregarding laws many centuries old, and showing little concern for employees seeking justice following illegal treatment at work.

“The government has been acting unlawfully, and has been proved wrong – not just on simple economics, but on constitutional law and basic fairness too.

“It’s a major victory for employees everywhere. UNISON took the case on behalf of anyone who’s ever been wronged at work, or who might be in future. Unscrupulous employers no longer have the upper hand."

Solidarity general secretary Patrick Harrington commented:

"Unison have scored a great victory for all workers. Our Union is now looking at cases where our members were prevented by the fees from bring their cases to Tribunal to see if they can still secure a hearing. Some of our members will also receive refunds for fees paid as a direct result of the win by Unison. A great result for them and for us all."

Read the full Supreme Court judgement in R (on the application of UNISON) v Lord Chancellor