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Impact of employment tribunal fees on access to justice

Impact of employment tribunal fees on access to justice


Ensuring Equitable Access to Legal Remedies Amidst Rising Barriers

Employment Tribunal fees could price out access to justice, hindering the enforcement of statutory rights.

The Law Society of England and Wales has sounded a cautionary note regarding the potential introduction of fees in Employment Tribunals and the Employment Appeal Tribunal. Such fees, if implemented, could erect formidable barriers to justice, particularly for low-paid workers.

President Nick Emmerson underscores the critical need for a comprehensive investigation into the repercussions of fee introduction. He emphasises that the Employment Tribunal serves as a vital forum for workers to uphold their legal rights. Any impediment to this process could perpetuate exploitation and undermine societal welfare.

Protecting Vulnerable Workers: The spectre of fee imposition disproportionately affects low-paid workers, exacerbating existing power imbalances. Denying them access to justice not only contravenes parliamentary rights but also perpetuates systemic inequities. It is imperative to shield these vulnerable individuals from further marginalization.

Addressing Unethical Practices: In light of recent scandals like the Post Office debacle, there is growing concern over organisations employing delay tactics to thwart justice. Large entities and charities resorting to such "scorched earth" strategies perpetuate injustice, leaving wrongfully dismissed employees mired in legal battles and financial strain.

Real-life Impact: The personal toll of exorbitant legal fees is starkly evident in cases like that of a former employee of a national charity. Faced with mounting costs and repeated hearing delays, the individual has been compelled to navigate the legal labyrinth alone, pitted against a behemoth with vast resources.

The Way Forward: Amidst mounting challenges, there is a pressing need for ethical conduct within organizations and legal advisories. Furthermore, policymakers must tread cautiously, ensuring that fee structures do not undermine the foundational principles of justice and equality.

Conclusion: As the debate over Employment Tribunal fees intensifies, it is paramount to prioritise equitable access to justice for all individuals, irrespective of their financial standing. Upholding the integrity of legal processes is not only a matter of legislative compliance but a testament to a just and inclusive society.