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Judicial Review of Tribunal Fees

This month has seen the long awaited outcome of the attempt by a Trade Union to challenge the introduction of fees payable by employees bringing claims in the Employment Tribunal.

In most civil litigation, a fee is payable by a Claimant to start proceedings and it is well established that a losing party should be responsible for the costs that they have caused their opponent to incur.

Until July of last year, those principles did not apply to employment claims and disgruntled employees could start and prosecute claims with virtual impunity while costing even the most meritorious employer huge amounts in legal fees and staff resources.

Even the introduction of modest issue and hearing fees caused dismay in certain quarters and led to a challenge by way of judicial review in The Queen on the Application of Unison v Lord Chancellor [2014].

The Union essentially argued that requiring certain people to pay fees would make it “virtually impossible” or “excessively difficult” to access their human rights under EU law. The High Court has rejected this and the fees stand.

However, it might be argued that the fact that Tribunal costs are still not automatically awarded to the winning party and the fact that such fees can be waived on the basis of income or certain benefits means that there is still little to deter the majority of claims.

If litigation is unavoidable, SLC is committed to providing our clients and contacts with the highest possible quality of representation.

When challenges are faced in the Tribunals or Courts, we are not content simply to act as a “post box” or conduit to external advisers and advocates.

In the vast majority of contentious cases, all aspects of your case will be dealt with by a single, nominated and professionally qualified representative who will guide you through every stage of the process from the commencement of a claim to the conduct of the final hearing.

On those few occasions when your matter is of so specialist a nature that your interests are best served by the contribution of an external expert, we will assist you in the selection and supervision of their services and continue – with you and for you – to monitor and control every aspect of the management of your case.

SLC is committed to keeping you informed – at every stage of your case – of the strengths and weaknesses of your position and the implications in terms of cost and otherwise of each of your decisions.

At all times you will be given realistic and commercially sensible advice as to the pros and cons of contemplating a negotiated settlement or proceeding to a final hearing.

Where a settlement is to your advantage, we will negotiate the most favourable terms that can be secured for you.

Where a court hearing is your best option, our skilled representatives will fight hard for the best possible outcome.

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