Whitehall is still working on ‘detailed arrangements’ to refund employment tribunal fees and there will be no further announcement until next month.
The update comes in a statement today from a senior member of the employment tribunals (England and Wales). It has been circulated on social media by specialist employment law barrister Daniel Barnett of London’s Outer Temple Chambers.
In an employment law bulletin this morning, Barnett reports:
’I have been to distribute the following information on behalf of the Employment Tribunals (England & Wales):
“As you are probably aware, in advance of the Supreme Court’s judgment in the Unison case an undertaking was given to the Court to refund Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal fees, should the Fees Order be declared unlawful.
“We are now working on the detailed arrangements of the scheme to enable that undertaking to be met and we aim to ensure that the process is as simple and unobtrusive as possible for those who make an application, while ensuring that refunds are only paid to those who are entitled. There are, however, a number of points of detail that we do need to address including, for example, how to deal with refunds in claims involving multiple claimants, and how it will operate when the tribunal has ordered the opposing party to reimburse a fee.
“Please bear with us during this period, and we hope to be in a position to make an announcement on the details of the refund scheme during September.”’
On the day of July’s ruling, justice minister Dominic Raab pledged ’immediate steps to stop charging fees in employment tribunals and put in place arrangements to refund those who have paid’. The refund is expected to cost around £32 million.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice said: ’The MoJ regularly holds discussions with its stakeholders during the course of policy development and is not obliged to comment on these.’
Today’s announcement has already met with criticism. Michael Reed, legal officer (employment) at the Free Representation Unit, tweeted that it implies people will have to make an application – ’which seems profoundly unsatisfactory’.
Hodge Jones & Allen, meanwhile, tweeted that ‘no news not good news’ on refunds.