Back on the 26th July 2017, the Supreme Court held that Employment Tribunal fees were unlawful. It was indicated at that juncture that there would be an announcement by the Government in around September 2017, as to what the process would be for reimbursing those that had already paid Employment Tribunal fees. However, to date there has been no such announcement
Reimbursing Employment Tribunal Fees
When Employment Tribunal fees were first introduced back on the 29th July 2013, the Lord Chancellor undertook to reimburse all Employment Tribunal fees that had been paid should they subsequently be found to be unlawful. Hence, when the Supreme Court declared that Employment Tribunal fees were indeed unlawful on the 26th July 2017, the Ministry of Justice confirmed that the fees already paid would be refunded, and indicated that there would be an announcement on the issue in due course. It stated at the time that that it would take “immediate steps to stop charging fees in employment tribunals and put in place arrangements to refund those who have paid”.
Nevertheless, an amended case management order issued by the President of the Employment Tribunals in England and Wales and by the President of the Employment Tribunals in Scotland on the 18th August 2017 stated: “So far as is necessary, applications for reimbursement of fees, however paid or by whom, shall be made in accordance with administrative arrangements to be announced by the Ministry of Justice and Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service shortly.” That would indicate that rather than receiving an automatic refund, those who require reimbursement would have to apply to the Employment Tribunal for it. Such a process would be highly unsatisfactory and unnecessarily bureaucratic. A process of automatic reimbursement would be the fairest and most cost effective method of implementing reimbursement. Nonetheless, as stated, the Ministry of Justice has itself yet to formally confirm what the procedures will be.
When Is An Announcement Due On Refunding Employment Tribunal Fees?
No formal date has yet been provided as to when there will be an announcement on how Employment Tribunal fees will be reimbursed. However, it is anticipated that there will be one in the next few weeks.
One of the reasons for the continued delay of the announcement is the fact that the amount to be refunded is estimated to be in the region of £27 million to £32 million. Refunding such a large amount will obviously present considerable logistical challenges.