All employment claims or applications brought to tribunal which rely on last month’s landmark Supreme Court decision on fees have been stayed by order. Yesterday’s decision, by president of the Employment Tribunals Brian Doyle, has been made ’to await decisions of the Ministry of Justice and HM Courts & Tribunals Service in relation to the implications’ of the judgment.
Yesterday’s order creates fresh uncertainty for employment solicitors, more than two weeks after the justices unanimously backed Unison’s challenge that the fees were introduced unlawfully. On 26 July, the day of the ruling, justice minister Dominic Raab promised ’immediate steps’ to stop charging fees in employment tribunals and refund those who have paid. The judgment is expected to cost the government about £32m.
Venerable employment lawyer Stefan Cross QC, once dubbed ‘the most hated lawyer in Britain’ for his success in bringing employment claims against public authorities, has hit out at the decision. He tweeted: ’This is extraordinary- “decisions of MOJ”? What right do they have to interfere in judicial decisions? This is opaque to say the least.’
Kayleigh Leonie, an employment law specialist at Trowers and Hamlins LLP, commented: ’This Case Management Order is unusual. It does not provide any clarification on the advice that advisers should be providing to their clients where, for example, they are seeking to bring a claim out of time or in circumstances where they are applying for a claim to be reconsidered after a strike-out for an unpaid fee.
’While the Ministry of Justice is working on the repayment of fees to those who are due a reimbursement, it is unusual that the President of the Tribunals has chosen to stay all claims in anticipation of further decisions from the Ministry of Justice and the Tribunal service, when it has the authority to decide whether or not to hear claims out of time.’
@StefanCross19 August 2017
@MichaelFordQC9 August 2017