Rise in claims on horizon following scrapping of employment tribunal fees

UK Supreme Court

Following The Supreme Court’s decision to immediately abolish employment tribunal fees, which were declared to prevent an individual’s right of access to justice there has been a warning that this move will lead to a rise in employment tribunal applications, and in turn, even insurance claims.

The move will also see the Government reimburse up to £32million paid by claimants since the introduction of the fees in 2013, which can reach up to £1200.

Jeremy Butler, Managing Director of insurance intermediary company, Qdos Underwriting, which specialises in providing cover for individuals and businesses involved in employment disputes, commented on the new ruling:

“This is a huge victory for Unison and a historic moment in employment law as we know it. For individuals, this is in principle very good news indeed. They will now be given a fair shot of winning potentially damaging employment cases regardless of their ability to pay court fees.

“That said, while we are cautiously optimistic about the ruling given that it levels the playing field for females and lower paid workers, it does somewhat contradict recent whiplash reforms, which in many cases will affect less affluent claimants.

“For UK employers, the scrapping of employment tribunal fees emphasises the need for vigilance and carefulness when it comes to employee-related matters. Given that cost is no longer a barrier, there will inevitably be an increase in employment tribunal applications, and in turn, perhaps insurance claims too. It is therefore imperative that employers get their basics right to avoid costly disputes.

“We urge employers to take care to consider whether their employment contracts and employee handbook are both up to date, in line with current legislation and as businesses, are protected against the expected rise in employment dispute claims.”

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