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Employment Tribunal Initial Refund Scheme

Employment Tribunal fees were abolished with immediate effect from 26 July 2017, following the Supreme Court's decision in R (on the application of UNISON) v Lord Chancellor, which held that Employment Tribunal fees were (and had always been), unlawful as they prevented access to justice.

A number of practical issues arising out of this decision have been considered by the Government, and its initial response is as follows.

  • What happens to fees that have already been paid?

Fees that have already been paid will be reimbursed. A total of £27 million in fees have been paid since the introduction of the fee system in 2013.

The Government has announced the initial phase of a refund scheme for those who had paid Employment Tribunal fees. These fees include:

  • Any fees paid by a claimant (issue fee etc);
  • Any fees paid by a respondent;
  • Any fees paid in connection with an appeal against a decision; and
  • Any mediation fees paid by a respondent in an attempt to settle.

The initial phase will last for around 4 weeks, from the 20 October 2017, during which up to 1,000 people will be contacted and given the opportunity to apply for a refund. Successful applicants will have their fees reimbursed, along with interest calculated at 0.5% from the date of the original fee payment until the refund date.

The Ministry of Justice is also working with trade unions to support those who are involved in claims with multiple claimants.

  • What happens if you are not contacted during the initial phase?

If you are not contacted during the initial phase, you can register to apply when the full refund scheme is rolled out.

The Government has said that it will announce further details of the full refund scheme after the initial refund phase has ended.  

Until further details are announced by the Government, you are able to pre-register claims by following this link ethelpwithfees@hmcts.gsi.gov.uk.

Further information about how a number of other practical issues, such as where employer respondents have reimbursed fees as part of a settlement of a claim, is awaited.

This article was written by Charles Pallot and Angharad Davies.

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