The South Eastern Circuit welcomes the recent decision by the Supreme Court in Unison v Lord Chancellor, concerning the unlawfulness of ET fees. In particular the Circuit applauds the Court’s reaffirmation of the principle that unimpeded access to courts and tribunals plays a vital role in upholding the rule of law and its debunking of the notion that the administration of justice is ‘merely a public service like any other’, of value only to those who have recourse to the courts and tribunals. We earnestly hope that this principle will inform future decisions made about the incidence and level of fees in courts and tribunals.
The South Eastern Circuit’s Access to Justice Working Group repeatedly objected to employment tribunal fees during the Ministry of Justice’s post-implementation consultation on aspects of the fees regime. The Working Group regrets the avoidable harm this unlawful policy will have caused to those who have been unable to bring valid claims as a result. We hope that the Ministry of Justice will now promptly reconsider the Civil Court Fees regime which has had a very damaging effect on civil claims more generally.