Fees To File With The EAT
On June 23rd, we wrote that “The UK Ministry of Justice has released employment tribunal claims statistics for the first quarter of 2014. According to Michael Rubinstein Publishing, whose blog is a good source for us regarding UK employment discrimination, there has been a “huge fall in employment tribunal claims as a result of the introduction of fees to bring a case and have it heard.”
Large Decrease In Claims: Why?
“There was a substantial reduction year-on-year in the volume of almost all discrimination claims. In particular, sex discrimination claims are down 81.4%. … Age discrimination claims received by tribunals were down 26%; disability discrimination claims down 47%; race discrimination claims down 60%; religion or belief discrimination claims down 63%; and sexual orientation claims down 60%.””
Comment From A UK Solicitor
Our post on September 14th entitled “[EAT] Tribunal Fees Likely Have Caused 71% Drop In Claims” elicited a lot of comments, none more incisive than that from Andrew Berke, a solicitor from Guildford, UK:
“Whilst both employees and employers may consider the Employment Tribunal system to be biased against them, I have noticed that over the past 5 years or so that the ETs have tended to side more with employers. Therefore, winning ET cases has become that much more difficult for employees and the ETs have also shown themselves far more willing to make cost orders against employees even where the employees concerned are representing themselves and have had no prior warning that their claims might be vexatious or misconceived!
Whilst there is a fine balancing act between employees who do not feel that they get justice from the ET system and employers who want protecting from unwarranted claims, charging fees for ET claims is simply adding insult to injury for many employees.”
Latest Survey Shows Most Cannot Afford The Fee
It is now reported by the UK’s The Independent that “Employment tribunal fees have been branded ‘a barrier to justice’, and that survey the charity Citizens Advice has found that “the fees made more than four out of five workers less likely to claim, or deterred them from claiming at all. Over four in 10 of those with employment troubles had a household income of less than £46 a week after essential bills, highlighting the gulf between the high fees and working wages.”
The Independent said that “Citizens Advice has called on the Government to align tribunal fees with county court charges in order to widen access. It has also asked for greater promotion of available financial support, and more research to assess what measures could be taken to protect employers without deterring legitimate claims.” Additionally, “the trade union Unison, which wants to abolish the fees, lost a second bid to have the fees legally reviewed. Despite the dismissal, the Court of Appeal has granted Unison permission to appeal the decision.”