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Supreme Court - employment tribunal fees unlawful

Supreme Court - employment tribunal fees unlawful

The UK’s Supreme Court has ruled that fees around employment tribunals are not fair, deeming them ‘unlawful’.

Introduced by the government back in 2013, the fees for taking an employment case to a tribunal ordinarily range anywhere from £400 to more than £1000.

Contractors who have been treated unfairly by their employer may look to take their case to a tribunal in certain circumstances. These fees however, could play a factor in a contractor deciding not to proceed with their case.

But following a legal battle launched by the Unison trade union, these fees are to be scrapped. The Supreme Court came to the conclusion that the fees were contrary to the Equality Act 2010 because they disproportionately affected women.

The government will now have to refund around £32million to some claimants since 2013.

The changes should encourage more contractors who may have been unfairly treated to take legal action.

Simon McVicker, IPSE director of policy, said that the fees have negatively and unfairly affected countless numbers of contractors and self-employed workers, claiming that these workers had been ‘denied access to justice’ because of prohibitive fees.

McVicker added however that a clear definition of self-employment was fundamental to removing any grey areas around workers such as contractors and the self-employed.

“We are calling for the government to introduce a statutory definition of self-employment to end this confusion, and improve working conditions for the UK’s 4.8 million self-employed people,” he said.