Saturday, 12 August 2017

Employment Law Claims Stop Press

This is an update on the ramifications of the Supreme Court's ruling that the widely condemned fees which have been chargeable for employment tribunal claims are unlawful (see http://www.breakinglaw.co.uk/search/label/employment%20tribunal%20fees).

Last Wednesday 9 August 2017 the President of Employment Tribunals Judge Brian Doyle ordered that "all claims or applications brought to the Employment Tribunal in England and Wales upon the (Supreme Court decision)" were to be stayed to await the decisions of the Ministry of Justice and the Courts and Tribunals Service on the implications of the decision. That means that these claims and applications have been halted but not that they have been thrown out.

The order is perplexing and it is to be hoped that its terms and the reasons for it will quickly be clarified. If it is intended to pave the way for reduced fees to be charged in the future for claims that have been made since the Supreme Court ruling without any fee having been paid then it is difficult to see how it will be effective. These claims have been accepted for issue and only new subordinate legislation introducing reduced fees which is retrospective could squeeze money out of claimants. They just don't do subordinate legislation like this.

It is open to any party to one of the recent claims or applications to apply to the regional employment judge for the relevant employment tribunal region for the stay to be lifted. Expect many applications of this nature, particularly because of the novelty of a stay in circumstances such as these. 

What is vital is that claimants who are late in making claims should not tarry on account of this development. The claim should go in without delay to await a decision on whether permission to make it belatedly will be given. The fact that it may be stayed for a while should not influence claimants.