Anyone who paid an employment tribunal fee can now apply for a refund, the Ministry of Justice said today – more than three months after the Supreme Court declared the fees unlawful. The announcement follows ’a successful opening phase of the scheme’, the ministry said.
Last month, the government announced a ‘first phase’. This stage was primarily aimed at people applying for refunds in single claims – around 1,000 people were included.
This has now been opened up to include all potential claimants. The MoJ said it has been working with trade unions who have supported large multiple claims potentially involving hundreds of claimants. The refund is expected to cost around £32 million.
However, in another hint that it might reintroduce fees in the future, the MoJ added: ‘The [Supreme] Court recognised the important role fees can play, but ruled that the government had not struck the right balance in this case.’
Anyone who thinks they may be eligible for a refund can apply online.
Tribunal fees were introduced in July 2013 through an order made by then lord chancellor Chris Grayling. They started at around £160, and increased to between £230 and £950 for further hearings. For certain claims, claimants had to pay up to £1,200.
July’s Supreme Court ruling overturned judgments by the High Court in 2013 and the Court of Appeal in 2015. Instead the justices unanimously backed an appeal by trade union Unison which argued that the fees were introduced unlawfully.