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Unison has lost its second High Court bid to overturn employment tribunal fees due to lack of sufficient evidence of the impact on people making claims.
The union has been granted a right of appeal. Tribunal fees were introduced in July 2013.
Unison’s first application for a review was rejected due to it being premature and its second failed because the judges said there was limited case law showing that fees denied people access to justice.
The number of sex discrimination cases being pursued at employment tribunal has fallen from 6,310 to 591 – a fall of 91% – since fees were introduced, according to recent figures released by the Ministry of Justice.
Pregnancy discrimination claims for the period April-June 2014, compared with April-June 2013 pre-fees, have fallen by 46% and unfair dismissal by 74%. The fees mean people have to pay as much as £250 for a claim and £950 for a tribunal hearing.
UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis said: “The High Court’s decision is disappointing, but we will fight on and do everything possible to ensure that these punitive fees introduced by the government are abolished.
“Today’s ruling is a real missed opportunity to ensure that all workers can afford to bring an employment tribunal claim. Since the introduction of fees last year, thousands of workers have been priced out of justice and we must not let this continue to happen.”