Newsflash: Tribunal fees – decision time

tribunal fees - stack of pound coinsWhat do we already know?

In our June 2015 Newsletter Tribunal fees – decision coming… we updated you that UNISON’s appeal against Tribunal fees was heard by the Court of Appeal on 16 and 17 June 2015. No judgment was given at the end of the hearing and it was suggested that it may take some time to issue a decision given the “interesting and difficult” points that had been raised.

What’s new?

The Court of Appeal has dismissed UNISON’s appeal.

This is despite Lord Justice Underhill being “troubled” by the sharp decline in Tribunal cases which he thought likely to be at least partly attributed to the affordability of fees.

Overall Lord Justice Underhill held that UNISON’s appeal could not succeed because there was no evidence before the Court of the actual affordability of the fees in the financial circumstances of (typical) individuals and therefore on which it could form any reliable view about the frequency of such cases.

However, although Lord Justice Underhill dismissed the appeal, he did note the Government’s commitment to a review of the fees regime, and observed:

“The decline in the number of claims in the Tribunals following the introduction of [fees] 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 said that it will seek permission to appeal to the Supreme Court, so keep watching this space…