The Government is making a u-turn on its initial decision not to contact people who were forced to pay employment tribunal fees.
The change of plan was announced by the current Secretary of State for Justice, David Gauke, who said that the refund scheme was making “reasonable progress” but was in need of further action.
The decision goes against what Mr Gauke’s colleague, Dominic Raab, said at the end of last year, when he claimed it was not possible for the Government to write to the individuals affected, as some may have moved house.
The employment tribunal fee scheme was ruled unlawful by the Supreme Court in July 2017. It was introduced back in 2013 by the then Lord Chancellor, Chris Grayling. The fees began at £160, rising to anywhere between £230 and £950 for subsequent hearings.
They were challenged by the trade union Unison and immediately abolished following the decision of the Supreme Court.
Commenting on the need for further action to ensure people received their refunds, Mr Gauke said: “We are therefore writing over the next few months to everyone who paid an employment tribunal fee, but who has not yet applied for a refund, to raise awareness of the existence of the scheme, and providing details on how to apply.”
The Ministry of Justice confirmed that as of December 2017, 3,400 employment tribunal refunds had been made, reaching a value of £2.8 million. The estimated cost once all refunds are paid is expected to be in the region of £33 million.
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