In Unison, R (On the Application Of) v The Lord Chancellor [2015] EWCA Civ 935, the Court of Appeal rejected an appeal by Unison against the introduction of fees for Employment Tribunals.

  • Employment Tribunal fees were introduced in July 2013.
  • Unison strongly oppose the introduction of fees, claiming that it has led to a significant decrease in the number of cases brought to tribunal.
    • The number of cases in the first 6 months following introduction decreased by 79% compared to the same period in the previous year.
  • The Union argued (among other things) that the fees indirectly discriminated against some potential claimants, and has had an adverse effect on the number of people being able to use the system to seek justice.

The court, conceded that the decrease in the number of claimants was ‘worrying’. It decided that the introduction of fees did not make the making of a claim impossible in practice. LJ Underhill commented that he felt that the drop in cases could be due to people who simply will not pay (rather than those who cannot pay) falling out of the system. The statistics presented did not on their own merit show any direct correlation between the introduction of fees and the drop in cases.


Unison is likely to appeal. The government is consulting on increasing tribunal fees, including introducing fees for tax tribunals. At the same time it has also launched an investigation the cause in the drop in employment appeals. 


Unison, R (On the Application Of) v The Lord Chancellor [2015] EWCA Civ 935