“Good” appeals not being taken to EAT because of fees, former president claims


It now costs £1,600 in fees to take a case to the EAT

It now costs £1,600 in fees to take a case to the EAT

The introduction of a £1,600 fee to bring a case to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has deterred many ‘good’ appeals while having no effect on those that are ‘bad’ or ‘opportunistic’, the former president of the EAT has claimed.

Mr Justice Langstaff – whose term ended last year – said that while the EAT’s caseload had continued to fall and, in England and Wales in 2015, was 45% of the level in the year before fees were introduced, the success rate of appeals had not changed at all.

Appellants to the EAT have to pay a £400 issue fee and £1,200 hearing fee.

Writing in the Senior President of Tribunal’s annual report, published yesterday, Langstaff J said: “Our conclusion at the EAT from these figures is that if the introduction of fees is indeed the cause of the reduction in the number of applications to appeal, to the extent now of just over 50%, then first, for every one successful appeal that is now brought there would have been two had fees not been introduced – ‘good’ appeals are being deterred; and second, there is now some empirical evidence that fees have had no effect in deterring ‘bad’ or ‘opportunistic’ appeals, as had been suggested in some quarters.”

The number of claims brought in employment tribunals has fallen even more dramatically than in the EAT, and the judge said that while the fall coming after the introduction of fees did not necessarily mean the two were linked, it was “difficult” to think of any other cause of such a substantial change in the behaviour of litigants.

“Other possible reasons for modified behaviour on the part of litigants, such as legislative change requiring longer service before bringing some claims, reducing the potential award available if some of those claims succeed, and requiring conciliation or at least formalised consideration of the possibility of it, are nothing new in the field of employment.

“Fees are new; fees have an obvious potential to change the behaviour of litigants; and what appears to be a ‘cliff-face drop’ in the number of applications became apparent so shortly after the introduction of fees as to suggest an actual temporal, and probably causal, connection.”

Langstaff J also revealed that a review of fees charged in employment cases carried out by Ministry of Justice civil servant Bill Dowse – whose terms of reference included understanding the cause or causes for the drop in claims – has been concluded and a report has been submitted to ministers.

Mrs Justice Simler took over as president of the EAT on 1 January 2016.




    Readers Comments

  • H McCormack says:

    The advent of fees in the employment arena has decimated this area of law substantially. If you have left your job because of bullying, harassment or discrimination, where are you supposed to find £1,600. This government clearly does not understand the Access to Justice Act and with every passing day, is depriving the general, working population of access to justice.
    It is a despicable situation when the Government cannot be brought to justice to reign in their consecutive campaigns against the blue collar workers of this country to have justice against those who have caused them harm.
    The knock on effect of these campaigns is more white collar workers (being the solicitors for whom the work is no longer there), being made redundant and the industry is now flooded with people looking for work, in areas of law which this government have solely and systematically destroyed.
    The same can be said of personal injury law, with the constant and sustained attack on fees, putting more and more professional people in the dole queue as smaller firms close, due to an inability to sustain a business on the meagre amounts the government (none of whom have actually practised law within the realms of the areas of law they continually attack), deem is sufficient to deal with claims. And whether we have followed the USA in becoming a litigious society or not, the fact remains, the laws were always there to begin with, this government is intent on ensuring that only the wealthy can utilise the laws which should cover everybody.
    George Osborne is obviously in the back pocket of the insurance companies (all of whom made billions of pounds on the back of the fees being reduced and the savings thereon NOT being passed onto the consumer as promised), and while this is allowed to continue, the working classes of this country will continue to be well maligned in the Judicial Arena.


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