I welcome the news that the Supreme Court has ruled in favour of UNISON – one of the UK’s largest trade unions – which means that employment tribunal fees will now be scrapped.
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.
The Government will also have to refund more than £27m to the thousands of people charged for taking claims to tribunals. This is since July 2013, when fees were introduced by Chris Grayling, the then Lord Chancellor.
The Supreme Court has ensured that millions of employees will no longer have to pay for access to justice. For too long the Government had locked people out of seeking a tribunal after the introduction of fees. These fees ranged from £160 to £1,600 and could have increased even further after the changes put in place by the Government. Now, everyone who wants to take action against unscrupulous employers will be able to do so without the worry of how much this would cost.
When the former Lord Chancellor, Chris Grayling MP, introduced these fees I pointed out how much this would hurt working families. It has also been proven that these fees hurt women disproportionately as they would usually bring more complex cases that cost more. I am glad to see the back of this discriminatory block on justice.
Delyn residents who have previously undertaken a tribunal, since the fees were introduced, are now eligible for a refund from the Government. Any resident needing assistance in claiming this refund should contact my office on 01352 763159 and I will help to the best of my abilities.
The Government need to learn from this and stop their march towards a justice system based not upon the merits of your case but the size of your bank balance. Never before has a Government restricted people’s ability to seek legal action, but I am glad to see the highest court in the land has struck down this harmful policy.