This website uses cookies

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience. By using our website, you agree to our Privacy Policy

The reintroduction of employment tribunal fees: a barrier to justice

The reintroduction of employment tribunal fees: a barrier to justice


The Law Society of Scotland warns that reintroducing fees in Employment Tribunals will hinder access to justice

The prospect of reintroducing fees in Employment Tribunals has stirred significant concern within legal circles, particularly regarding its potential impact on access to justice. The Law Society of Scotland has raised alarm bells, emphasising that such a move could disproportionately affect vulnerable individuals who rely on these tribunals for legal recourse.

Paman Singh, a member of the Law Society of Scotland’s Employment Law Committee, underscores the importance of ensuring that proposed measures do not exacerbate access to justice issues. While the fee might seem nominal to some, it could pose a substantial burden for those who have lost their jobs, earn minimum wage, or depend on benefits.

The Ministry of Justice's consultation on this matter has drawn scrutiny, with questions raised about its underlying rationale. Critics argue that the proposed fees, intended to reduce costs to the taxpayer, would only yield a fraction of the total annual expenditure on funding these services. Instead of resorting to fees, there are calls for improvements in administration, technology, and resourcing to address the backlog of employment cases.

While acknowledging the need to protect employers from frivolous claims, concerns persist about the lack of consideration for alternative mechanisms to deter such actions. Suggestions for a more robust initial consideration and sift process at the Employment Tribunal stage have been put forward as viable alternatives.

In essence, while the intent behind reintroducing fees in Employment Tribunals may be to streamline processes and curb abuse, the potential consequences on access to justice cannot be ignored. It is imperative for policymakers to carefully weigh these concerns and explore alternative solutions that uphold the principles of fairness and equality before the law.