Employment Tribunal fees – are you entitled to a refund?

Applications for the refund of Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal fees that were paid between 29th July 2013 and 26th July 2017 are currently open.

Employment Tribunal fees   

Prior to a decision of the Supreme Court, claimants, respondents and third party representatives may have paid fees under the Employment Tribunals and Employment Appeal Tribunals Fees Order 2013 (“the Fees Order”) which was introduced on 29th July 2013.

The fees payable under the Fees Order differed depending on whether the claim was brought by a single claimant or a group and whether the claim was classified as a type A claim or a type B claim.

For individual claims: Type A claims, such as those for holiday or statutory redundancy pay, had an application fee of £160 and a hearing fee of £230. Type B claims, including unfair dismissal or discrimination had an application fee of £250 and a hearing fee of £950.

The Fees Order resulted in a substantial fall in the number of claims raised in Employment Tribunals. In 2017 there was approximately 100,000 less claims raised in Employment Tribunals than in the year prior to the introduction of the Fees Order. Following this a legal challenge was raised by the trade union UNISON.


The Supreme Court’s decision     

In the case R (on the application of UNISON) v Lord Chancellor [2017]the Supreme Court unanimously held that the Fees Order was unlawful under both domestic and EU law because it prevented access to justice. The Fees Order was also held to be indirectly discriminatory under the Equality Act 2010. It was found that a higher proportion of women raise a type B claim rather than a type A claim which particularly disadvantages women due to the higher fee payable. As a result of this decision fees are no longer payable in connection with making an application to the Employment Tribunal.

Employment Tribunal claims have increased sharply following the Supreme Court ruling issued on 26th July 2017. According to an article published in Scottish Legal News, following the abolition of tribunal fees there has been a 60% rise in the number of Employment Tribunal claims compared with those in the previous year.

How to apply for a refund  

If you paid fees at an Employment Tribunal or Employment Appeal Tribunal between 29th July 2013 and 26th July 2017 you may be entitled to a refund.

If you are entitled to a refund, you will be refunded all of the fees you paid plus 0.5% interest for each year that has