UNISON released a press release yesterday confirming that they are lodging an application in the High Court for judicial review of the impending Employment Tribunal fees
It was confirmed yesterday that UNISON was seeking to combat the Government’s plans to introduce fees for users of the Employment Tribunal and the Employment Appeals Tribunal in July 2013. The Government is seeking to introduce standard fees on 29 July 2013 for Claimants and Appellants to lodge claims in the Employment Tribunal and appeal decisions to the Employment Appeals Tribunal. UNISON is objecting to these fees as it believes they are contrary to the principle of access to justice and in breach of EU law.
UNISON’s legal arguments for the judicial review are as follows:
- Employment Tribunal fees would make it impossible or excessively difficult to exercise individual rights conferred by European Community law and that reasonable people would not litigate to vinidivate their EU rights in such circumstances
- That introducing fees for the Employment Tribunal and not for the First-Tier Tribunal (a Tribunal concerned with asylum and immigration rights) breaches the principle of equivalence
- There has been no proper assessment of the Public Sector Equality Duty – such an assessment should have been made to judge the potentially adverse effect of introducing fees in terms of the numbers and proportions of claims brought by individuals with protected characteristics
- That the fees are indirectly discriminatory – that such fees will have a disproportionate adverse impact on women
Dave Prentis, General Secretary of UNISON, commented that “The Government should not put a price on justice – that is why UNISON is calling for a Judicial Review. These charges are a blatant attempt to stop working people from exercising their employment rights. It will give unscrupulous employers the green light to ride roughshod over employees’ already very basic, rights at work.”
Chris Hadrill, employment solicitor at Redmans, commented on the application: “This is a case to watch. If UNISON succeeds in its application for judicial review then this could put a serious spoke in the wheels of the Government’s drive to cut ‘red tape’ and reduce the number of Employment Tribunal claims.”
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