As it is highly unlikely that the present Government would scrap Employment Tribunal fees of its own volition, should this appeal fail then England and Wales ultimately could end up being the only parts of the United Kingdom within which the fees have to be paid. This is because no fees have to be paid in Northern Ireland, and the Scottish Government are considering whether they should scrap Employment Tribunal fees altogether in Scotland.
Matthew Taylor, whose review of employment practices and the ‘gig economy’ was recently published, recommended that Employment Tribunal fees be reduced. When he was asked about Employment Tribunal fees on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4, he said: “What we’re suggesting is that there will be a new free process of employment tribunal where anyone can find out what their status is. We’re saying everyone should be able to have a free judgement on whether or not they have those rights in the first place before they proceed with the case.” Asked about Employment Tribunal fees in general, Taylor stated: “Yes. We recognise in the report that like a lot of people, including employment organisations, that it would be better if those fees weren’t so high and we encourage the Government to continue to look at that issue.”
Whilst the Taylor Review acknowledged that the decision to introduce Employment Tribunal fees and to pitch those fees at up to £1,200.00 had deterred people from bringing claims in the first place, the report concluded that “With regret, we recognise that it is unlikely that the Government will move to abolish these higher fees.” Nevertheless, the report could have gone a lot further by firmly recommending that these unfair fees be abolished altogether