Hartlepool’s MP and an advice chielf have welcomed a Supreme Court decision saying to scrap Employment Tribunal fees.
Employment Tribunal fees were introduced in 2013 and for an Unfair Dismissal claim, the total amount that a person would have to pay in fees to make a claim would be £1,200.
For other claims for notice pay, redundancy pay and holiday pay the total amount that a person would have to pay is £390 even if they are claiming less than this amount.
Now Supreme Court has ruled that the Government was acting unlawfully and unconstitutionally when it introduced the fees following a campaign involving the union Unison and Citizen Advice Bureau.
Hartlepool MP Mike Hill said: “As a former Unison official , I am delighted by the unanimous judgement in the Supreme Court over unfair Employment Tribunal Fees. Thanks to my union, these fees will now be scrapped and access to justice made easier.”
The bureau nationally says introduction of the fees system has led to a 79% reduction in the number of claims brought to Employment Tribunals over three years.
Citizens Advice Hartlepool say from April 2016 to March 2017, the local office advised and assisted just over 500 Hartlepool residents with employment law problems.
Citizens Advice Hartlepool manager Joe Michna, who is also a specialist employment law adviser, said: “We have been concerned about the fees system from the day it was introduced. As a major local provider of employment law advice, we have seen a significant number of people with good potential claims being put off making a claim to an Employment Tribunal because of these fees.
“For an ordinary unfair dismissal claim, somebody who did not qualify for help on low income ground had to pay a whopping £1,200 in fees in order to bring a claim.
“Those who were also affected were employees who were owed small amounts of money and quite often the tribunal fee they had to pay was more than the amount they were claiming. We recently had a client who was owed £250 by a former employer. But to bring a claim to a tribunal, she would have had to pay £390. We have campaigned for the reform of the fees system and we very much welcome the Supreme Court decision.”
Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice said: “We call on the Government to act swiftly to suspend the fees system and ensure all of those who are out of pocket after paying fees get their money back.”