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Employment Tribunal fee refund scheme opens: how to claim

Paloma Kubiak
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Paloma Kubiak

If you brought a claim to an Employment Tribunal in the past four years, you may be able to claim a share of an estimated £33m allocated to refund the unlawful fees.

The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) has today opened a scheme allowing Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeals Tribunal claimants to apply for a refund of fees.

Employment Tribunal fees were introduced in July 2013, requiring claimants to pay up to £1,200 to have their claim heard.

But earlier this year, the Supreme Court made a landmark judgment, deciding the fees were unlawful on the grounds that it prevents access to justice, and was “indirectly discriminatory on the grounds of sex”.

The court also noted there was a “dramatic and persistent” fall in the number of claims (70% in litigation cases) following the introduction of the fees, with the decline more apparent in lower value or non-monetary claims. As a result, it ruled the government had not “struck the right balance”.

In October this year, the MOJ launched a scheme allowing around 1,000 people to complete a refund application and now that it’s been successfully completed, it’s being rolled-out so that anyone who thinks they may be eligible for a refund can apply.


How to claim a refund of Employment Tribunal fees

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to be impacted and the estimated cost of the scheme is £33m (including 0.5% interest), according to SA Law.

You can get a refund if you paid fees at an Employment Tribunal or Employment Appeals Tribunal between 29 July 2013 and 26 July 2017.

You’ll need to include how much you paid in tribunal fees and you can apply online if:

  • you haven’t changed your name since you made the claim to the tribunal
  • your claim was against one employer
  • you have a UK bank account

Otherwise, you can apply by post or email (details in link above) with the following forms:

Keely Rushmore, a senior associate in the employment department at SA Law, said: “Anyone who has paid fees in respect of a Tribunal claim can now apply for a refund under the scheme.

“This applies to individuals who brought a claim and paid their fees personally, to anyone who paid a fee on someone else’s behalf (for example a trade union or presumably an insurance company), and to any organisation ordered by an Employment Tribunal to pay a claimant’s fees (if the claimant succeeded with the claim it was usual for the Employment Tribunal to require the respondent to the claim to reimburse the claimant all or at least part of the fees they had paid).

“The scheme enables the majority of individuals to simply complete an online form, with the refund then credited to their bank account with interest.”