• Robert Spicer

Employment Tribunal Fees: Sex Discrimination: High Court Decision


Employment tribunal fees

Case R (on the application of Unison) v Lord Chancellor (No.2) [2015] IRLR 99, High Court

Statute reference Employment Tribunals and the Employment Appeal Tribunal Fees Order 2013

Facts In July 2013 fees for bringing employment tribunal claims were introduced. Unison challenged this scheme on the basis that it rendered employment rights illusory and that it operated in an indirectly discriminatory way with respect to women. The union submitted that the number of claims had reduced by 79 per cent.

Decision 1. The imposition of fees was in principle a legitimate aim designed to ensure that users of the service made a contribution towards its cost.

  1. The court had no evidence that any individual had been unable to bring a claim because of cost.

  2. It was not disputed that the proportion of women who brought discrimination claims was greater than the proportion of men. But it was necessary to test any provision, criterion or practice by focusing on all those who were subject to it. It was not legitimate to take a self-selected group.

  3. The scheme taken overall, particularly having regard to the arrangements designed to relieve the poorest from the obligation to pay, had been justified and proportionate to any discriminatory effect. Moreover, costs were recoverable, in general at least, if the claim succeeded.

  4. The challenge failed.

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