Employment Tribunal fee refund scheme has been announced

People on their way to work

As previously reported, the Supreme Court made the decision in July this year that employment tribunal fees were unlawful. This was after Judicial Review proceedings were brought forward by Trade Union Unison who challenged the payment of fees.

The effect of that Judgement meant that workers would no longer need to pay fees for raising Employment claims, or attending hearings, with immediate effect (from 26 July 2017). Furthermore, that all claimants who have already paid fees since 29 July 2013, when the Order came into effect, would be given a refund.

Since July, all parties involved in the payment of fees have been awaiting further guidance from the government as to how to claim back what they have paid. The first phase of the scheme was set up to make refunds and this has now been launched by the UK government.

The first phase is to last up to four weeks. It will begin with issuing refunds to those who have contacted the Ministry of Justice since the decision came out. The refunds are to include interest of 0.5% since the date of the original payment until the date of the refund. The full scheme will be progressed after the initial four week period and will be rolled out in early November.

This initial phase is to primarily deal with refunds in single claims and up to 1,000 people have been contacted to complete applications. The guidance in relation to the refunds for multiple claims will be issued after the first phase has been rolled out. The government have advised that they will be working with the Trade Unions on how best to go about this process.

Under the scheme, those eligible to apply for a refund are:

  • Claimants who paid fees straight to the Employment Tribunal or Employment Appeal Tribunal but have not been reimbursed by their opponent pursuant to an order of the Tribunal.
  • Claimants ordered by the Tribunal to reimburse their opponent their fee and who can provide evidence that they paid it.
  • Representatives, for example a trade union, who perhaps paid the fee on behalf of the claimant but the individual did not reimburse them.
  • For multiple claims, the lead claimant or representative that paid fees on behalf of other claimants.

For those claimants who are due a refund but have not been invited to take part in the initial stage of the scheme, they will need to register an interest in applying for a refund once the full scheme is rolled out.

A  pre-registration scheme is in the process of being set up where these individuals can register their interest. You can either register by email at ethelpwithfees@hmcts.gsi.gov.uk or by post to:

Employment Tribunals Central Office Scotland/
Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) Fees
PO Box 27105
Glasgow G29 JRX

If you have any queries in relation to the refund of fees, or think you may be due a refund please contact us for advice.