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The Supreme Court has ruled that employment tribunal fees are unlawful in a ‘landmark’ ruling today after a four-year legal battle.
The fees which were introduced by the government in 2013 meant that anyone in England, Wales or Scotland who wanted to pursue a case against an employer could have to pay up to £1,200.
Trade union Unison brought the case and argued that the fees denied workers access to justice and rendered thousands of small claims pointless.
The court ruled that when the government introduced the fees they acted unlawfully and unconstitutionally as they restricted access to justice and the fees were indirectly discriminatory to women.
The union said that the ruling means the government will have to refund more that £27m to claimants who were forced to pay the fees.
Dave Prentis, Unison general secretary said: “The government is not above the law, but when ministers introduced fees they were disregarding laws many centuries old, and showing little concern for employees seeking justice following illegal treatment at work.
He added: “Today the Supreme Court has righted a terrible wrong and sided with those the government sought to silence.”