We did a post on September 14th entitled “[EAT] Tribunal Fees Likely Have Caused 71% Drop In Claims.”
We referred to a few studies and articles and published these quotes: “The overall number of claims has fallen by 80% since the introduction of employment tribunal fees in July 2013.”
And: “Tribunal fees are likely to remain the main reason for the reduction in claims compared with the same quarter last year. … The union continues to argue that the fees deny access to justice for some workers and discriminate against particular groups such as women.”
Here are a couple of incisive reader comments on ths issue.
Prof. Stephen Whittle of the UK:
“I have worked for a charitable organisation providing pro-bono employment advice to employees and workers now for over 20 years. The fees mean that dismissed workers cannot risk bringing a claim, as the costs immediately eat into any savings they have, or worse, any outstanding salary they have due.
For many low paid workers the fees are more than they earn in a month. There is a fee remission scheme but the forms are extraordinarily difficult for a person without legal support.
For a long time, an unpaid, non-lawyer, legal advisor could act as a ‘Mackenzie’ friend and advocate for the claimant at an employment tribunal. Now, the tribunals will no longer accept the Mackenzie friend acting for the claimant, and instead insist they have a practicing lawyer o r be a litigant in person.
For employers, costs to their employees are not of concern, as has been shown, they know there is far less likelihood of a former worker bringing a claim.
Adding to all that, the UK government has now increased the period of time before those who have lost their job will receive any unemployment benefit – so usually, a claimant needs whatever final salary they are due to feed them and their families.
It is simply not justice.”
Inga B. Andriessen, a Toronto lawyer:
“In the Province of Ontario, Canada, fees are currently not able to be awarded by the Human Rights Tribunal.
However, there has been legislation proposed that will allow the Tribunal to award costs and many legal observers believe that will result in a drop of claims by employees.”