The Commission welcomes the opportunity to respond to this consultation on changes to arrangements for fees in the employment tribunal system (ET fees) and to comment on the outcome of the review. We recognise the potential benefits of the proposed changes on claimants’ ability to access their employment rights (through employment tribunals).
However, we remain concerned that the introduction of substantial fees has had a significant adverse impact on access to justice, with disproportionate impacts on people sharing certain protected characteristics. The Commission considers that the introduction of ET fees of up to £1,200 (e.g. for a discrimination case to be heard) is compromising claimants’ rights under common law, Article 6 ECHR, and EU law. It is impairing the essence of the right to access the courts, and the government has failed to show that the introduction of fees is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.
We conclude that the proposed reforms do not offer sufficient mitigation and that the justification for potential indirect discrimination given by the Ministry of Justice is inadequate.
Last updated: 20 Mar 2017