Belfast Telegraph

Unison wins 'landmark' court victory on tribunal fees

By Staff Reporter

Unison has won a "landmark" court victory against the Government over controversial fees for taking claims to an employment tribunal in Britain.

The Supreme Court ruled in favour of the union, which had argued that the fees of up to £1,200 - which do not apply in Northern Ireland - discriminated against women and other groups of workers.

Unison said the decision means that employment tribunal fees will now be scrapped.

The Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the Government was acting unlawfully and unconstitutionally when it introduced the fees four years ago.

Michael Black, a director at Belfast law firm CFR, said there had not been the political will to introduce fees in Northern Ireland and it was "very unlikely" they would ever apply.

"Although the employment law landscape in Northern Ireland has increasingly diverged away from Great Britain's employment law in recent years, the abolition of tribunal fees will bring GB into line with the position here," he said.

Paul Gillen, employment law partner at Pinsent Masons in Belfast, said the decision could hit Northern Ireland companies with operations in Britain.

He said: "On a broader level, businesses here will await to see how claims without merit will be dealt with and whether the same approach could be adopted in Northern Ireland."

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