In July of this year the Supreme High Court declared that employment tribunal fees were unlawful and put an immediate end to them. Since then, many have been waiting for details of how those that had already paid the fees (introduced in 2013) would be reimbursed.
On 20 October the government announced that reimbursements would begin via a staged process.
To start with, around 1,000 people will be contacted directly and advised on how to apply for reimbursements. Alongside this, the Ministry of Justice is contacting trade unions about claims involving a number of claimants.
Following this, in around a months’ time, the scheme will be further rolled out and anybody who has paid an employment tribunal fee will be able to apply.
If the meanwhile, if you are not contacted directly but would like to get the ball rolling and pre-register for the reimbursement scheme, you can get in touch with the employment tribunal office by finding contact details on their website here.
Everyone who is entitled to a reimbursement will also be paid 0.5% interest on the fee that they paid up until the day that they receive a refund.
The overturning of employment tribunal fees resulted after the trade union, Unison, argued that the fees were discriminatory as they could be a barrier for many groups – in particularly women – from being able to stand up for their employment rights. In the three years following the introduction of the fees, 79% fewer tribunal cases were brought forwards.
The fees costed between £390 and £1,200 per case and it is estimated that around £32 million was paid in employment tribunal fees.