Taylor&Emmet is hailing the recent Supreme Court ruling abolishing employment tribunal fees as a significant victory for access to justice.
The firm’s employment law experts have welcomed the decision and believe there is now a window of opportunity to issue claims for free, even if they are technically out of time.
Tom Draper, Taylor&Emmet’s head of employment law, explained that in normal circumstances, aggrieved employees would have three months from the date of dismissal to bring a claim.
However, as the tribunal has the power to extend this period, he said he saw no reason as to why the Supreme Court’s decision could not be used to argue the time limit should be increased because prohibitive costs prevented action being taken initially.
“It is important to note this will not be an option indefinitely,” said Draper (pictured).
“The tribunal’s power to extend time limits on this basis will be restricted and potential claimants will lose the right to use this argument if they delay too long.”
The Supreme Court decreed the Government’s charges for employment tribunals are unlawful last month. It determined they prevent access to justice and indirectly discriminate, particularly against women.
Fees of up to £1,200 were introduced four years ago. Since their introduction, the number of cases has dropped by 70%.
“There has been a predictable backlash against this ruling by those who think it will lead to a flood of new claims,” added Draper.
“I genuinely believe employers who follow good employment law practise and have up to date HR procedures have nothing to fear from the tribunal system and we should applaud a decision that, once again, makes justice accessible to all.”