Supreme Court Rules Tribunal Fees Unlawful

24 Aug 2017


The UK Supreme Court has ruled that tribunal application fees are unlawful and has ordered the government to pay millions in reimbursements.

Changes in the law

Tribunal fees were introduced in 2013 to deal with the high volume of tribunal claims, as a result of the legislation tribunal applications have decreased by 70% over the last three years.

Trade union, Unison has been challenging the tribunal fees since the law was introduced and after a number of hearings, the UK Supreme Court ruled in favour of the union and overturned the law.

The Supreme Court made the decision on the basis that introducing the fees has prevented individuals from exercising their right to justice. As well as overturning the law, the Supreme Court has ordered the government to pay up to £32m to reimburse tribunal fees.

How this will affect business?

As a business, you will need to be more vigilant when it comes to employee related matters. The absence of tribunal fees will mean that, with cost no longer being a barrier, the number of tribunal applications will rise.

It is important to get the basics right to avoid getting to that stage, you should make sure that employee handbooks and contracts of employment are up to date with current legislation.

You should also check your insurance policy and remember to take advice to protect your organisation from risk. Most insurance policies surrounding tribunals are dependent on the company taking advice.

Chamber Members can access free advice on Human Resources through Chamber Protect. The service provides access to qualified HR Advisers 365 days a year around the clock, downloadable resources and insurance.

To access this service call the Advice Line on 01455 852 037 or visit the website