Amid the flurry of news articles marking the first anniversary of Employment Tribunal fees this week, one in particular caught my eye. The Trade Union Congress (TUC) has published a report on the impact of tribunal fees and one of its conclusions is that women have been the biggest losers.
The Report, entitled What Price Justice?, found that fees have had a particularly detrimental impact on disadvantaged groups but, in particular, sex discrimination claims fell by 80 per cent. The TUC identified both the fees themselves and the workings of the remissions system as reducing the likelihood that women would bring claims.
The backdrop to the TUC’s report is the forthcoming appeal hearing of Unison’s judicial review of the decision to introduce fees. One of the four grounds upon which Unison had claimed that fees were unlawful was that they were indirectly discriminatory against minority groups. At the time the original judicial review application was heard in October last year, the Court concluded that it could not form any clear view in this regard as there was insufficent statistical information.
The evidence appears to be stacking up that fees, at least in their current form, are having a detrimental impact on disadvantaged groups. It will be interesting to see how the Court of Appeal applies the principle of objective justification to the impact of fees with a year’s worth of statistical information at its finger tips.