Employers are by now aware of the Supreme Court’s judgment of 26 July 2017, which declared employment tribunal fees unlawful.
However, the Government’s plan to repay all Employment Tribunal and Appeal Employment Tribunal fees since their introduction in 2013 has remained unreported until now.
Last Friday, 20 October 2017, the Government launched ‘the first phase’ of the circa £32m tribunal fee refund scheme.
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and HM Courts & Tribunals Service said that from this week, up to around 1,000 people will be contacted individually and given the chance to apply for a refund before the full scheme is opened up in the coming weeks.
This opening phase is expected to last around four weeks.
Successful applicants will be paid interest of 0.5 percent, calculated from the date of the original fee payment up until the refund date.
For those who paid the fees, but have not been invited to take part in the initial refund stage, there is an online or postal pre-registration scheme, allowing individuals to register their interest in applying when the full scheme is rolled out.
The Government has said that it will be working with trade unions in relation to how the process should be applied to applications in larger multiple claims.
Those who will be eligible to apply for a full refund under the scheme are:
- employees who paid a fee directly to the employment tribunal or employment appeal tribunal and have not been reimbursed by their opponent pursuant to an order of the tribunal
- individuals who were ordered by the tribunal to reimburse their opponent their fee, and who can show that they have paid it
- representatives who paid a fee on behalf of another person and have not been reimbursed by that person
- the lead claimant (or representative) in a multiple claim who paid a fee on behalf of the other claimants.
Full details of the scheme, including how it can be accessed for both types of claim, will be made publicly available when the scheme is rolled out fully, which is expected to be in early November.
Pip Galland is an employment law solicitor at Royds Withy King