Did you pay a fee to take your employer to a Tribunal? If you did, you could be eligible for a refund. Read more to find out why and how to claim it.
The Ministry of Justice has recently announced that Claimants in the Employment Tribunal or the Employment Appeals Tribunal between July 2013 and July 2017 can now apply for a full refund of their fees.
Fees were introduced in 2013 in an effort to put some of the cost of the Tribunal onto individuals and to reduce the number of ‘frivolous’ claims. There were two levels of fees, Level A and Level B. Fees started at £390 for Level A claims and increased to £1,200 for Level B claims which included things like unfair dismissal and discrimination. For appeals the cost was £1,600 regardless of the level of case.
The decision in R (on the application of Unison) v Lord Chancellor  UKSC 51 said that the charging of fees for applications to the Employment Tribunal was unlawful because it affected Claimants’ rights to access to justice. One of the results of the introduction in fees was a 66-70% fall in Employment Tribunal applications since July 2013. The court also took into account the low value of many claims in the Employment Tribunal and said that fees as high as £1,200 could deter Claimants from making a claim when they have a right to do so. It was also decided that although not directly discriminatory, fees were indirectly discriminatory because of the difference in cost for those who wanted to claim discrimination at work. Therefore, the Court held that the fee order was unlawful from the date it was introduced and those who had paid fees since their introduction would receive a refund.
The process of refunding claimants originally began in October 2017 with a short trial period taking place in which 1,000 people were contacted by the Ministry of Justice to inform them of their right to a refund.
Now the refund process has been opened to all Claimants and allows for a full refund of fees plus interest of 0.5%. But this system relies on those who paid fees at the Employment Tribunal between 29 July 2013 and 26 July 2017 in getting in touch to request the refund system themselves. It is estimated that in total the refunds will cost the Government around £32 million. To apply for your refund either write to the scheme or complete an online form – follow this link to find out more.