Employment tribunal fees refund scheme begins
On Friday, the government announced the first details of the employment tribunal fees refund scheme. The announcement follows the Supreme Court’s judgment in July 2017 in R (on the application of UNISON) v Lord Chancellor, which ruled that the employment tribunal fees regime was unlawful.
First stage of the scheme begins
In a press release by the Ministry of Justice and HM Courts and Tribunals Service, it was confirmed that the opening stage of the scheme launched last Friday and will last four weeks. During this time, the government will individually contact around 1,000 people with an invitation to complete an early application for a refund. The full details of the application process will be published once the scheme is fully rolled out. In the meantime, those not selected to take part in the opening stage have been invited to pre-register their interest in applying when the full scheme is rolled out.
In addition to refunding the tribunal fees paid since the introduction of the fees regime in 2013, the scheme will also pay out interest on those fees at a rate of 0.5%. It has been estimated that the cost of refunding fees, including interest at 0.5%, will be in the region of £33m.
Anticipated resurgence in historical claims
The announcement comes at a time when the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has been writing to prospective appellants whose appeals were historically struck out by reason of non-payment of the EAT’s fees. Those prospective appellants have been invited, by way of a single tick-box question, to confirm if they wish to resume their appeal. It is anticipated that this exercise will result in a resurgence of historical appeal claims.
We will continue to monitor developments with close interest.