It is not surprising that the introduction of tribunal fees has seen a dramatic decrease in the number of tribunals lodged. The union Unison challenged the introduction of fees through the courts, but so far the challenge has failed.
The question is, has the introduction of fees prevented justice? From an employer's point of view, having to pay a fee to lodge a claim has given some comfort by dissuading dismissed employees lodging a claim where there was no intention to follow through with the claim, and little chance of success should the claim be heard. These applications were made to see whether a pre tribunal payment would be made to the ex-employee to "go away" and this would have been less costly than preparing and presenting at tribunal.
On the other hand, the fee may not have only dissuaded the frivolous claims, but also the claims where employees have genuinely been treated unfairly, and are more than entitled to some form of compensation, but cannot afford the fee to lodge a claim.
The government has launched a review, to ascertain whether the introduction of fees has been effective in reaching the objectives. The results are due out at the end of the year.
Are fees here to stay? We shall see.
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