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Employment tribunal fees ruled unlawful

Tribunal Fees Introduced

Tribunal fees were introduced on 29 July 2013 as a measure to deal with the high volume of Tribunal claims.  As a result of the implementation of this policy, tribunal applications were reduced by more than 70% in three years!

Trade body, Unison sought to challenge the government on this policy immediately and four years and several court hearings later, the Supreme Court (the highest court in the UK) has ruled in favour of the union.

The Supreme Court ruled that the introduction of tribunal fees prevented an individual’s right of access to justice.

As well as the fees being scrapped altogether, the government will now have to reimburse up to £32m paid by claimants since the introduction of the fees in 2013!

This is a huge victory for Unison and an historic moment in employment law as we know it.

Whilst the Supreme Court ruling is great news for consumers and the principle of access to justice for all, business owners will be concerned about a potential increase in claims, particularly an increase in the vexatious and opportunistic claims that the tribunal fees sought to eliminate.

Preventative measures include the need for businesses to ensure that their contracts of employment and employee handbooks are up to date, and that they manage their affairs in line with current employment legislation.

Some of these measures, including essential legal advice prior to taking any action against an employee, are included in good quality Commercial Legal Expenses Insurance policies and businesses should therefore consider their options in terms of the insurance cover available to protect themselves from the potential risk of employment disputes.

Brokers’ advice to their business clients, whatever their size, should include raising awareness of the availability of Commercial Legal Expenses which provides both preventative guidance and insurance protection.

Vantage’ range of Commercial Legal Expenses Insurance products provide cover for employment disputes, including legal expenses incurred in representation of the policyholder in their dealings with the claimant and at Employment Tribunal, and indemnity for awards or settlements that the policyholder may be ordered to pay to the claimant by an Employment Tribunal.

In addition to the indemnity provided by the policy, all Vantage policyholders are provided access to legal advice lines and a comprehensive online library of HR and other legal documents, which can be used pro-actively to help ensure compliance with legislation and reduce the risk of claims.

For further information regarding Vantage’ Commercial Legal Expenses Insurance, please visit our website or contact us – email enquiries@vantageprotect.com or call 01455 852111.

Contact us to discuss your requirements today.

01455 852111 enquiries@vantageprotect.com