Tribunal Fees Made Illegal

employment tribunal fees

In perhaps the most important judgement in employment law of the last fifty years, the Supreme Court has ruled that the Government’s employment tribunal fees are illegal and fees already charged will be refunded.

The UK’s trade union, Unison took the government to court arguing that the charges are illegal and discriminatory. An analysis by Unison found that low-paid women, especially those treated unfairly when they were on maternity leave or pregnancy, were the biggest losers. The parties broadly agreed, accepting that the fees had a disparate impact on women.

The short-term consequences of the judgment are that with immediate effect (as of 26 July 2017), fees are no longer payable for claims before the ET or appeals to the EAT and, all fees which were paid in the past must be reimbursed.

What does the judgment mean for employers?

Niki Avraam, Employment Partner comments: There is likely to be an increase in the number of tribunal claims that are brought though perhaps employers will be more likely to settle cases at the pre-tribunal stage. Most importantly for employers, when taking management decisions affecting individual members of staff, there must be consideration of the fact that there is now a greater likelihood that individuals who are dissatisfied will bring tribunal proceedings.


Howat Avraam Solicitors provide Commercial, Employment and Contract Dispute advice to companies and business owners. As business owners ourselves, we have a pragmatic in-house approach to resolving issues before they arise by working alongside our clients. We are commercial, practical and entrepreneurial in our approach to legal services.

To discuss any employment matter on a no obligation basis, please contact Niki Avraam, Employment Partner, on 020 3735 6708 or email Niki at Alternatively, visit our website at

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