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In July 2017, the Supreme Court ruled that fees in the employment tribunal were unlawful. the reason being that they acted as a barrier to justice by acting as a deterrent to individuals who could not afford to bring claims against their employers.

The employment tribunal statistics for the quarter October to December 2018 found that there had been a 23% increase in claims being brought compared to the same period the year before. These increases have had a significant impact on both administrative and judicial resources meaning many employment tribunal claims can be delayed for up to 7 months.

As a result of the ruling, many more employers have found themselves having to deal with tribunal claims, some of which are frivolous. It seems that employees are more prepared than ever to bring claims and more aware of their rights now than they were before.

Tribunals can be costly, as well as take up a lot of precious management time. As a result, it is important that employers make sure staff policies are up to date and that management are trained to handle employee issues in the workplace.


Fees May Be Reintroduced

In November 2018, The Ministry of Justice suggested in evidence provided to the House of Commons Justice Committee that a new fee regime was and is being developed. The new regime seeks to find balance that helps fund the court system while being ‘proportionate and progressive’. The intention is to ensure that the new regime would still ensure individuals have access to justice.

At present, there are no immediate plans in place to reintroduce fees. However, we will ensure to keep you up to date on this news.


Refund of Fees

Richard Heaton, in a letter to the House of Commons select committee, has revealed that the government still owe claimants £16 million in refunds nearly two years on after the 2017 ruling.

According to the Ministry of Justice’s statistics in December, the programme has made 21,300 refunds, at a total value of £16.95 million, since the scheme was established in October 2017. 


Our Solicitors Are Here to Help

At Howells, we can assist you with any claims and, for our retainer clients, we offer insurance which will cover the costs of not only your legal fees in defending any claims but also any compensation award that may be made against you.

For more details, please contact our Head of Employment Law and HR Business Services, Bethan Southcombe.

With effect from 15th February 2015 EU Regulations on Consumer Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) allow consumers who bought our services online to submit their complaint via an online complaint portal.

We are required under the regulations to provide our clients the following information:-
  1. Link to the ODR platform - please follow the following link for further information (
  2. Our contact email address in case of a complaint under the ODR regulation – Andrea Coombes