The introduction of ET fees in July 2013 has undoubtedly had a massive impact on the number of cases that have been registered.
Speaking at a recent Law Society conference, the acting regional Employment Judge for the North West, Judge Russell, expressed his personal opinion that the regime is likely to stay in one form or another, but there appears to be recognition amongst the judiciary of the need to “level the playing field”. This may lead to the introduction of fees for employers when filing their response (for example) and a share of the Hearing fees.
Putting these possible developments to one side, UNISON has made its second attempt to judicially review the fees regime. The first challenge was dismissed by the High Court in February 2014 noting that the “fundamental flaw” in UNISON’s case was that, at that stage, there was insufficient evidence to support the arguments that were being put for overturning the regime. Since that time, quarterly statistics have shown a substantial year-on-year fall in the number of claims with only 8,540 new claims lodged between April and June 2014 which was an 81% reduction on the same period in the previous year. We understand that arguments were presented to the court last week and we await the Court’s decision with interest, so watch this space…!