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Union to mount new challenge to employment tribunal fees

Workers who have had to pay to take their cases to an employment tribunal could be refunded the money if an appeal against fees regime is successful.

The UNISON union announced on 1 April that it had been granted permission by the Court of Appeal to proceed with appeals against High Court decisions refusing its two judicial review applications challenging the lawfulness of the fees. The appeals will be heard together in June.

The Lord Chancellor agreed in the first judicial review claim that he would reimburse all employment tribunal fees paid, if they were found to be unlawful.

UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “Every worker who has been forced to pay these punitive fees may get their money back if UNISON’s case is successful.

“We are pleased that this issue is being taken seriously. We hope the court will recognise that the government’s fees regime is having a significant impact on the ability of workers to access justice, particularly low-paid women.”

The union said that the latest figures revealed the number of employment tribunal cases was continuing to fall. Between October and December 2014, claims dropped by a further 12 per cent compared with the same quarter in 2013, when the fee regime, introduced in July 2013, was already in place.