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House of Commons Hansard
20 October 2017
Volume 629

  • When the Supreme Court handed down judgment in the case of R (Unison) v. Lord Chancellor on 26 July, the Government took immediate steps to stop charging fees in the employment tribunals. We also said that we would bring forward detailed arrangements to refund people who had paid fees. We will today be launching the first phase of the refund scheme.

    We will use this first phase, which will last up to four weeks, to ensure that the refund process works efficiently and effectively. From today, officials in the Ministry of Justice will be writing to an initial group of up to 1,000 people who paid fees for proceedings in the employment tribunals, inviting them to take part. This group will consist of people who have contacted us since the Supreme Court judgment inquiring about a refund. Those who receive a refund will also be paid interest from the date their payment was received.

    We recognise that during the initial phase of the refund scheme, there is likely to be considerable interest in the details of the scheme. For those who have paid employment tribunals fees, but have not been invited to take part in the initial stage, we are setting up a pre-registration scheme so that they can register an interest in applying when the full scheme is rolled out. Those who wish to do so can register either by email at: ethelpwithfees@hmcts.gsi.gov.uk: or alternatively by post to the following addresses:

    For proceedings in England and Wales

    Employment Tribunals Central Office (England and Wales)/Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) Fees

    PO Box 10218

    Leicester LE1 8EG

    For proceedings in Scotland

    Employment Tribunals Central Office Scotland/Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) Fees

    PO Box 27105

    Glasgow G2 9JRX

    This phase is primarily aimed at people making applications for refunds in single claims. During this period, we will also be working with the trade unions on how this process should be best applied to applications for refunds in larger multiple claims.

    We plan to roll out the full refund scheme early in November. At that point, anyone who has paid a fee in the employment tribunals, whether in a single or multiple claim, will be able to claim a refund.

    Those who will be eligible to apply for a refund under the scheme are:

    People who paid a fee directly to the Employment Tribunal or Employment Appeal Tribunal, and have not been reimbursed by their opponent pursuant to an order of the tribunal.

    People who were ordered by the tribunal to reimburse their opponent their fee and who can show that they have paid it.

    Representatives (such as a trade union) who paid a fee on behalf of another person and have not been reimbursed by that person.

    The lead claimant (or representative) in a multiple claim who paid a fee on behalf of the other claimants.

    Further guidance will be available when the scheme is rolled out.

    To receive a refund, applicants will be invited to complete an application form with their details, details of their employment tribunal claim and the fees that they paid. These details will be verified against HMCTS’s records. Where people are unable to provide full details of the fees they paid, or the details they provide do not accord with the details we hold, their application will not be refused automatically, but it may take longer to process.

    Where a person is claiming for fees that they reimbursed to their opponent pursuant to a tribunal order, they will be asked to provide a copy of the tribunal order, and proof of payment. In cases where a person reimbursed their opponent under a private settlement, they will not be eligible for a refund; in such cases, the person who paid the fee to the tribunal will be eligible for a refund.

    All applicants will also be asked to sign a declaration of truth about the details they provide. Refunds will be made to the applicant’s bank account; if an individual does not have a bank account, they can contact HMCTS for alternative methods of payment.

    [HCWS186]