19 Dec 2014
Yesterday it was reported that the employment tribunal fees legal challenge application by Unison had been dismissed at judicial review by the High Court. Commenting on the news, Richard Smith, Croner Head of HR, says: “This case was argued on the basis that fees have limited the ability to pursue claims to enforce EU rights and also that it has been indirectly discriminatory as women are more likely to miss out on the opportunity to present sex discrimination and equal pay claims due to the high levels of fees. The case has been lost partly on principle but also as there was an absence of an actual disadvantaged person. We think it very likely that a further application and/or appeal will be presented so this is far from the end of this matter. “2015 will be an interesting year for employment law, in particular developments surrounding employment tribunals, and the outcomes of the general election will play a huge part in this. We think the government has overshot its intended reduction in cases; they estimated that it would deter 40% of claims, but in fact numbers have fallen by 80%. There is also a political dimension; it will be interesting to see how the result of the election will affect policy with the Labour Party seemingly against fees – at least at this level. Devolution measures in Scotland may also change the rules north of the border. “Employers will be anxious not to return to a litigation free-for-all where hundreds of thousands of claims were brought each year, so this High Court dismissal will satisfy many.”
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