In July, we reported on a landmark decision in which the U.K.’s Supreme Court unanimously found the Employment Tribunal fee regime to be unlawful. Below is an update on the legal and practical developments since that decision.
New Fee Regime?
Although it was initially thought that the U.K. government would be likely to seek to introduce a new replacement fee regime, no such regime has been implemented nor does it even seem to be on the horizon (at least for now).
Reimbursement of Fees
One of the implications of the decision is that all fees paid since the introduction of the regime in 2013 must be reimbursed. There is, as yet, no reimbursement system in place but government guidance on this is expected shortly.
Reinstatement of Claims Where Fee Had Not Been Paid
It is unclear whether a system to reinstate claims that were dismissed because the fees had not been paid will be introduced, although it is likely that it will. In the meantime, affected claimants would be well advised to write to the relevant Employment Tribunal to ask for confirmation that the claims are now accepted or will be reconsidered.
“Out of Time” Claims
It is also unclear whether a system will be put in place under which ‘out of time’ claims can be brought if prospective claimants were deterred from bringing the claims ‘in time’ due to the high level of fees, but this seems unlikely. At the moment, employees should submit their claims in the usual way and the Employment Tribunal can then assess whether or not to allow them.
What Does This Mean for Employers?
Employers can expect to see a rise in Employment Tribunal claims. The number of claims brought between July to September 2017 is due to be published in mid-December 2017, which should provide a good indicator of the level of claims to come.